Taking the lead in the U.S., Buick introduces its Active Hood Pedestrian Safety System on its 2018 Buick Regal Sportback. It’s not just a Buick first, but a U.S. first, with an active hood system engineered to help reduce injuries in car-versus-pedestrian frontal crashes. Using sensors located behind the grille, the system senses imminent impact with a pedestrian at speeds between 16 and 30 miles per hour. At the instant of impact, pyrotechnic actuators — not unlike the igniter in an airbag — fire to lift the rear of the hood four inches. This provides a cushion of sorts on which the pedestrian lands.
Wahaj Hussain is a performance engineer for GM and the lead on the Active Hood Pedestrian Safety System, a project into which he invested more than six years. Hussain describes the effect as being similar to a pedestrian landing in a catcher’s mitt. Once the system has deployed, the actuators must be replaced, but the hood can be pushed down into place temporarily so the car can be driven to the dealership’s service department for repair.
Although Opel, Mercedes-Benz and other car companies have similar hood safety systems on vehicles marketed in Europe, the Buick Regal Sportback’s safety hood is a first in this country and is standard on every Sportback.
It joins other safety features on the Sportback, like 10 airbags, as well as available technologies, such as lane change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, blind zone alert, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, forward-collision alert and emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and rear parking assist.
The 2018 Buick Regal Sportback is already in Buick showrooms.