Jan 16, 2019

Autoliv revolutionizes airbags for autonomous vehicles

CEO of Volvo Cars Hakan Samuelsson (L) and CEO of Autoliv Jan Carlson. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/AFP/Getty Images

It's fun to imagine lounging in our cars once they start driving themselves, but safety engineers are worried about how to make sure we'll still be protected if there's a crash.

Why it matters: A dashboard-mounted airbag could land like a sucker punch in the back of the head if we've swiveled our chair around to talk to rear-seat passengers.

What's happening: Autoliv, a major supplier of airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels, has developed a new "life cell" airbag, which provides protection regardless of how a driver or passenger is seated.

  • When activated, the airbag resembles a protective cocoon.
  • Autoliv is working with seat manufacturers to integrate it into the seat frame, allowing for flexible seating configurations.
  • The cocoon could help shield the passenger from free-flying objects, including unbuckled backseat occupants or loose items in the vehicle.
  • Autoliv is showcasing its airbag this week at AutoMobili-D, the technology exhibition at the Detroit auto show.

Go deeper: The great auto disruption

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Coronavirus breaks the telecom bundle

Reproduced from Park Associates "Broadband Services in the U.S." report; Note: 2019 survey was conducted in Q3, with 10,059 respondents and a ±1% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumers are adopting stand-alone broadband services at a much higher rate than just two years ago, and analysts predict that the economic downturn prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak will accelerate the trend.

Why it matters: With a recession looming, consumers may look to cut pay TV service in favor of more robust standalone internet packages once they're free to leave their homes.

America's funeral homes buckle under the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries in hot spots across America cannot keep up with the staggering death toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The U.S. has seen more than 10,000 deaths from the virus, and at least tens of thousands more lives are projected to be lost. The numbers are creating unprecedented bottlenecks in the funeral industry — and social distancing is changing the way the families say goodbye to their loved ones.

Navarro memos warning of mass coronavirus death circulated in January

Image from a memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

The state of play: By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health