an automobile having special design features that can prevent accidents or (in the case of a highway traffic accident) reduce injury to the driver, passengers, and pedestrians.
The first experimental models of a safety automobile were created in the USA (Liberty Mutual in 1957 and the Survival Car in 1960) and in Italy (Sigma, 1963). A safety automobile (see Figure 1) is constructed to meet “active” and “passive” safety requirements. Among the active safety elements that can prevent accidents are improved stability and control of the automobile, increased braking effectiveness, and wider field of vision. The passive safety elements are to reduce injuries in the case of an accident and consist of a complex of measures to create a “protective envelope” around each passenger (to restrict movement with respect to the seat, to reduce the probability of injury from impact against the inner surface of the automobile’s body, to provide a convenient exit from the automobile in case of accident, and so on). The steering column of a safety automobile usually bends easily on impact, or the automobile is built without one (it is controlled by two levers). Doors are provided that do not open in a collision, as well as windshields with higher penetration resistance, and so forth. In case of head-on impact the engine of a safety automobile moves under the passenger compartment. The safety automobile is equipped with an automatic fire-extinguishing system. A new model, the New York Sedan (USA), is supposed to protect the driver and passengers in a head-on collision at speeds of up to 80 km/hr, in an impact from the rear up to 65 km/hr, and if the automobile overturns and lands on its top at speeds of up to 100 km/hr. If a pedestrian is hit, he should not be seriously injured at vehicle speeds of up to 24 km/hr owing to the “soft” construction of the front bumper. Scientific studies have been conducted in the USSR since 1968 in this field, and the design developments of individual subassemblies of the safety automobile have been adopted.