My wife was hit head on by someone that fell asleep at the wheel.
Our 13 year old and 2 year old were in the Explorer with her. They all are ok. The Explorer did its job to save my family.
The invention is a device that can be installed on motor vehicles to protect the bumper from minor bumps and abrasions. The device comprises a bar in polymer elastomer housed in a suitable seat inside the car at the level of the bumper. The device includes also proximity sensors capable of detecting the presence of an object when it comes close to a predetermined safety distance. When detecting the object, a linear actuator drives the elastomeric polymer bar from its seat and moves it outside the bumper so as to avoid any contact. In this way, the impact occurs against the bar instead of the bumper. The linear actuator returns the bar in its seat when the object is not any longer detected by the sensors. In this way, the car aesthetics and design is not altered.
The car body's purpose is to isolate the vehicle inside environment from the external one. The body is the most visible part of the vehicle and it constitutes the element which most greatly influences the car's external appearance. Therefore, the vehicle’s body aesthetics is a major factors conditioning the purchaser’s choice. This is one of the reasons why vehicle manufacturers (especially automobile and motorcycle producers) have increasingly invested in the development of bodies that are aesthetically attractive and captivating, but also highly performing in terms of aerodynamics and resistance to weather agents, impacts and abrasions. However, investments have led to a cost increase of the vehicle body components. These costs charge the owner not only at the time of purchasing the vehicle, but also any time maintenance operations are required. Bodies, indeed, increasingly include complex and sophisticated components whose repair or replacement for restoring the original car appearance leads to considerable expenses.
Although technological development furnished the vehicle body with extremely elastic components and protective coverings much more effective than in the past, these components are still very sensitive and hence easily altered following impacts and abrasions. In order to prevent similar damage, it is often not sufficient to drive and park a vehicle with maximum care, since there is always the risk that the vehicle's body will be damaged by third parties. This may occur deliberately, through vandalism, but most body damage occurs involuntarily, especially when a vehicle is parked in areas where other vehicles are parked nearby.
Advantageously, when the collision means are no longer required, they are housed back in their seat and are not anymore visible making no interference with the body design.