Hyosung to supply innovative airbags for Amazon Robotaxi
Hyosung Advanced Materials will supply the fabric for the airbags in Amazon’s fully autonomous vehicle, the Korean company said Tuesday.
Global Safety Textiles, a Hyosung affiliate that specializes in airbag fabric and cushions, will manufacture the airbag material, Hyosung said. The material will be sent to ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which supplies automotive systems for the "Robotaxis."
Amazon’s self-driving car start-up Zoox first unveiled its Robotaxi in December last year. Instead of the conventional design that comes with a cockpit and passenger seats, Zoox’s prototype image showed a box-shaped open internal space with a seat in each corner facing the center.
As the Robotaxi does not require a driver or a cockpit, the self-driving vehicle contains a large space that could be used in a variety of ways beyond just ferrying passengers — possibly even as a food truck or a mobile medical center.
“Such characteristics require that airbags ... be designed in a variety of shapes based on a completely new concept,” Hyosung said in a statement. “In response, the new-concept three-dimensional airbags wrap around the riders from above when deployed instead of the horizontal deployment used in traditional vehicles.
Robotaxis will use Global Safety Textiles' “one-piece woven” airbags, which Hyosung explains can realize a three-dimensional form with a single fabric, instead of traditional airbags that combine several pieces of fabric. The airbags will fall from the ceiling in the form of a cushioned horse shoe.
Behind the product is patented technology that means the airbags do not have to be sewn together. According to Hyosung, the airbags can stay inflated for a longer period than ordinary airbags after deployment. Global Safety Textiles’ one-piece woven airbags have been used in other vehicles before.
“Based on [Global Safety Textiles'] excellent product development capacity and [one-piece woven] airbag manufacturing technology, we will continue to roll out innovative products that meet the increasingly diverse needs of users in the era of new mobility,” said Hyosung Advanced Materials CEO Hwang Jung-mo.
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]