Making convertibles stiffer in the corners isn’t the only priority Porsche has.
You can usually spot the types who walk away with their high school or college diplomas and vanish into the forgetful waters of monotony by the way they carry themselves, tearing up their books and banishing further education until one day they remember that improvement is a lifelong endeavor. The best never forget that, which is one way of saying Porsche has come out with another patent that proves that even when it’s at the top of its game, the automaker is investing on furthering its education with a lofty R & D budget.
Motor 1 takes credit for spotting this patent, which outlines airbags embedded in the A-pillars of Porsche’s convertible models to further protect exposed occupants in the event they overextend their skills and the capabilities of the car, causing an accident. According to the patent diagrams, the airbag would extend the length of the A-pillar and would greatly improve crash performance in the scenario that the lateral forces send the driver or passenger careening into the interior components at a 45-degree angle, precisely where little protection exists and where it’s possible for an occupant’s body to miss the steering wheel or dash-mounted airbag as well as the side curtain airbag.
This phenomenon where the crash test dummy’s head misses both airbags has been noted on many modern cars following the implementation of the small front overlap crash test, which focuses on one corner of a car and therefore generates more lateral force in an accident. The airbag could easily be fixed to the A-pillars of a hard top Porsche to add yet another layer of needed protection against the aforementioned scenario. The biggest beneficiary, however, and the subject of Porsche’s patent diagrams, is the convertible. Given the lack of a solid reinforcing roof structure, it’s easy for the A-pillars and the windshield to shift back in an accident and hit an occupant’s head.
However, the damage from this type of accident could be mitigated with an airbag on the A-pillar. An A-pillar-mounted airbag could also help supplement the steering wheel or dash-mounted bags given that convertibles have no side curtain airbags. Like Porsche’s previous patent, which details a rear-mounted diffuser, there is no timeline that hints at when the German automaker will implement these tech features, but we can only hope it happens sooner than later.