Passive safety technologies help mitigate injuries to the driver and passengers if an accident should occur. Mazda does not simply comply with the laws of each country and region and NCAP test, but also conducts tests*1 for various types of potential collisions that might occur on the road, and has made steady progress in developing passive technologies to better protect passengers and drivers. Major passive safety technologies are as follows.
- *1Crash safety performance test, rollover test, roof strength test, etc.
Mazda has developed SKYACTIV-BODY, a new-generation body structure with lightness and high rigidity, by revisiting the basic principles and reviewing every element of the structure, production method and materials. Multi-load Path Structure improves crash safety performance and absorbs the load at the time of a crash by dispersing it in multiple directions. Naturally, the multi-load path structure is adopted for lateral collisions and rear collisions as well to function in the same way, thus greatly improving safety performance. Moreover, the front and rear bumper beams adopt 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel with the world's highest level of rigidity among mass production vehicles to realize lightness and excellent crash safety performance.
The multi-load path approach was also adopted for individual parts. We focused on directing the crash energy mainly along the ridge lines of the parts, molding the front tip of the front frame into a cross shape. In a conventional square section, there are four ridge lines, but when a cross is created there are twelve ridge lines, and the shock is dispersed more widely. By doing so, the energy is then absorbed more efficiently, the space in the engine room is more effectively used, and there is also greater freedom in exterior design.
Mazda uses various methods to reduce injury to pedestrians in the event of a collision. The Impact Absorption Bonnet mitigates the impact to a pedestrian's head in a pedestrian accident. Active Bonnet is designed to mitigate shock to the head in the event the vehicle collides with a pedestrian. Designed to activate with a defined speed range, the system causes the rear end of the bonnet to pop up when an impact exceeding a certain threshold is detected, creating a shock-absorbing space between the bonnet and the engine. Energy absorption materials are used in the front part of the vehicle which hits pedestrians' knee to mitigate the severity of pedestrian's knee injuries. Also, stiffening reinforcement is placed at the bottom of the bumper to better prevent pedestrian's leg from going under the vehicle. In anticipation of an accident, the shape of bonnet is carefully designed to reduce the damage to the pedestrians' knees, which are an important part of the body for walking.
The MX-5/Roadster updated in July 2012 features an Active Bonnet (pedestrian protection system) which raises the rear end of the bonnet in the event of an accident to reduce impact to the head. At certain vehicle speeds, when sensors detect an impact exceeding a defined level, the rear end of the bonnet is raised.
This creates a space between the bonnet and the engine which acts to absorb the energy of impact and reduces the severity of head injuries in collisions involving pedestrians while keeping the bonnet low as benefits the sports car design.