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1. US6417764 - Safety system for vehicles

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[ EN ]

What is claimed is:

1. An airbag deployment system for a vehicle, the system comprising:
at least one airbag housed in the vehicle having an interior shell;
a controller operable to determine whether to deploy the at least one airbag; and
means for inflating the at least one airbag in response to actuation by the controller, the at least one airbag having a plurality of inflatable chambers, wherein the at least one airbag is positionable relative to the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use, said means for inflating arranged to inflate independently the plurality of inflatable chambers to cause, in use, coexistence of inflated states of individual chambers of said plurality of inflatable chambers.
 
2. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 1, comprising deflation means to enable deflation of at least one of the chambers at a predetermined pressure level in response to an impact.
 
3. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 2, wherein the at least one chamber is defined by a chamber wall formed of a relatively strong material which is resistant to bursting and a rupturable membrane portion constituting the deflation means.
 
4. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 1, comprising sensor means communicating with he controller and operable to determine a relative change in proximity to the vehicle of objects external to the vehicle.
 
5. An airbag deployment system as claimed claim 4, wherein the sensor means co-operates with the controller to cause the controller to actuate inflation of the at least one airbag in advance of a collision between said vehicle and an object external thereto.
 
6. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 5, wherein said recess is in side paneling of said vehicle and the protective device is attached to the side panelings.
 
7. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 1, wherein an airbag is housed within a recess in the paneling of said vehicle, the recess being closed by a protective device attached to the paneling.
 
8. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the vehicle is provided with airbags operable when deployed to protect corners of the vehicle.
 
9. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 1, the system comprising a plurality of airbags which at least one has a plurality of inflatable chambers, wherein at least one of the plurality of airbags is outside of the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use.
 
10. An airbag deployment system for a vehicle, the system comprising:
at least one airbag housed in the vehicle having an interior shell;
a controller operable to determine whether to deploy the at least one airbag;
means for inflating the at least one airbag in response to actuation by the controller, the at least one airbag having a plurality of inflatable chambers, wherein the at least one airbag is positionable relative to the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use, said means for inflating arranged to inflate independently the plurality of inflatable chambers to cause, in use, coexistence of inflated states of individual chambers of said plurality of inflatable chambers; and
deflation means to enable deflation of at least one of the chambers at a predetermined pressure level in response to an impact, wherein the deflation means defines respective different predetermined pressure levels in respect of the chambers of the airbag.
 
11. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 10, wherein the predetermined pressure level for deflation of a first one of the chambers is lower than the predetermined pressure level for deflation for a second one of the chambers.
 
12. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the chamber wall if formed of a fibrous composite material.
 
13. An airbag deployment system for a vehicle, the system comprising:
at least one airbag housed in the vehicle having an interior shell;
a controller operable to determine whether to deploy the at least one airbag;
means for inflating the at least one airbag in response to actuation by the controller, wherein the at least one airbag is positionable relative to the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use and said at least one airbag comprises a plurality of inflatable chambers; and
deflation means to enable deflation of at least one of the chambers at a predetermined pressure level in response to an impact, wherein the deflation means defines respective different predetermined pressure levels in respect of the chambers of the airbag, wherein the predetermined pressure level for deflation of a first one of the chambers is lower than the predetermined pressure level for deflation for a second one of the chambers, wherein the first chamber is deployed in use at an outermost position with respect to the second chamber and the vehicle.
 
14. An airbag deployment system for a vehicle, the system comprising:
at least one airbag housed in the vehicle having an interior shell;
a controller operable to determine whether to deploy the at least one airbag; and
means for inflating the at least one airbag in response to actuation by the controller, the at least one airbag having a plurality of inflatable chambers, wherein the at least one airbag is positionable relative to the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use, said means for inflating arranged to inflate independently the plurality of inflatable chambers to cause, in use, coexistence of inflated states of individual chambers of said plurality of inflatable chambers, wherein the at least one airbag comprises between 2 and 10 independent chambers having respective deflation means rupturable at different respective internal pressures.
 
15. An airbag deployment system as claimed in claim 14, wherein the airbag comprises three chambers.
 
16. An airbag deployment system for a vehicle, the system comprising:
at least one airbag housed in the vehicle having an interior shell;
a controller operable to determine whether to deploy the at least one airbag;
means for inflating the at least one airbag in response to actuation by the controller, wherein the at least one airbag is positionable relative to the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use and said at least one airbag comprises a plurality of inflatable chambers, said means for inflating arranged to inflate independenty the plurality of inflatable chambers to cause, in use, coexistence of inflated states of individual chambers of said plurality of inflatable chambers; and
sensor means communicating with the controller and operable to determine a relative change in proximity to the vehicle of objects external to the vehicle, wherein the vehicle has a side with side paneling and the sensor means comprises a proximity sensor positioned to detect objects at the side of the vehicle and the system includes airbags operable to protrude outwardly from the side paneling of the vehicle.
 
17. An airbag deployment system for a vehicle, the system comprising:
at least one airbag housed in the vehicle having an interior shell;
a controller operable to determine whether to deploy the at least one airbag;
means for inflating the at least one airbag in response to actuation by the controller, wherein the at least one airbag is positionable relative to the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use and said at least one airbag comprises a plurality of inflatable chambers, said means for inflating arranged to inflate independently the plurality of inflatable chambers to cause, in use, coexistence of inflated states of individual chambers of said plurality of inflatable chambers; and
sensor means communicating with the controller and operable to determine a relative change in proximity to the vehicle of objects external to the vehicle, wherein the sensor means comprises means for detecting whether a trailing vehicle is approaching at a rate such that impact with said vehicle is inevitable and the system includes an airbag operable to protrude outwardly from a rear end of said vehicle.
 
18. A vehicle containing an airbag deployment system comprising:
at least one airbag;
a controller operable to determine whether to deploy the at least one airbag; and
means for inflating the at least one airbag in response to actuation by the controller, the at least one airbag having a plurality of inflatable chambers, wherein the at least one airbag is positionable relative to the interior shell of the vehicle when deployed in use, said means for inflating arranged to inflate independently the plurality of inflatable chambers to cause, in use, coexistence of inflated states of individual chambers of said plurality of inflatable chambers.
 
19. The vehicle of claim 18, wherein the airbag deployment system further comprises deflation means to enable deflation of at least one of the chambers at a predetermined pressure level in response to an impact.