Next Mustang to debut Ford’s new knee air bag

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Detroit — Ford has a way to protect knees in a crash with an inflatable air bag that will debut on the 2015 Mustang later this year. The new air bag is smaller and lighter, which makes for a roomier interior.

The key is an inflatable plastic bladder integrated into the glove box door instead of the usual knee air bag mounted under the instrument panel.

The injection-molded plastic bladder replaces a traditional fabric air bag and is sandwiched between the inner and outer panels of the glove box door. When the car’s sensors detect a crash is imminent, an inflator fills the bladder, extending the entire glove box outer door panel toward the front passenger’s legs, providing a protective cushion.

The location is ideal. The glove box is closer to the knees, so the bag does not have to travel as far, and the glove box door distributes the impact load over a larger area.