2011 Honda Odyssey: Safety

Summary

Honda has consistently challenged itself to pursue vehicle safety as part of its core business strategy. The company seeks to provide a high level of occupant protection and pedestrian injury mitigation in all of its cars and trucks through a comprehensive and evolving approach to vehicle safety. This process benefits all new Honda vehicles, regardless of size or price.

The 2011 Odyssey exemplifies the Honda approach to safety. Every Odyssey incorporates Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), side-curtain airbags and dual-chamber, front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); and active front-seat head restraints that are designed to help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision. An Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure in the front of the vehicle, now in its second generation on the Odyssey since debuting on the 2005 model, makes the vehicle highly effective at absorbing the energy of a frontal crash. Like all 2011 Honda vehicles, an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist is standard equipment.

Additional standard safety features include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, front seatbelts with automatic-tensioning systems and load limiters, and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle. Driver- and front-passenger seatbelt reminders and daytime running lights (DRL) are also standard equipment. A class-leading total of five Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) positions (four in the Odyssey LX) provide rigid attachment points for child seats.

Standard active safety systems

  • Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control
  • 4-wheel disc ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Standard passive safety systems

  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure
  • 3-point seatbelts at all positions
  • Front seatbelt load limiters and automatic tensioners
  • Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags
  • Front-seat side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags with rollover sensor
  • Active front-seat head restraints
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system in second- and third-row seats (five total)

Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure

At the heart of the Odyssey is an exceptionally strong foundation based on the latest version of Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure technology that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. The ACE design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle.

This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. Additionally, ACE helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can happen during head-on or offset frontal impacts with a significantly larger or smaller vehicle.

Unlike most conventional designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end, the ACE system actively channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements, including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. By creating specifically engineered "pathways" that help distribute these frontal impact forces through a greater percentage of the vehicle's total structure, the ACE system can more effectively route them around and away from the passenger compartment to help limit cabin deformation and further improve occupant protection. Integral to the ACE concept is its unique front polygonal main design structure.

Pedestrian Injury Mitigation Design

Structures in the front of the 2011 Odyssey are designed to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Research by Honda shows that the following features can dramatically improve a pedestrian's chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.

Specific pedestrian injury mitigation features are:

  • Hood is designed to deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian
  • Sufficient clearance exists between the hood and hard engine parts
  • Windshield base has a unique section structure for efficient impact energy absorption
  • Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports
  • Deformable windshield wiper pivots
  • Deformable hood hinges

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is an Electronic Stability Control system that works in conjunction with the Odyssey's drive-by-wire throttle and its 4-channel ABS systems to enhance control capability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while also managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to help the vehicle maintain the driver's intended path of travel.

The VSA system constantly analyzes data from seven sensors that monitor wheel and vehicle speed, steering input, lateral G forces and yaw rate. It compares the driver's control inputs with the vehicle's actual response. Whenever the actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA intervenes with a corrective action.

For instance, if VSA detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. In the event of understeer, VSA may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the car to its intended course.

VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction. VSA is calibrated to function in a near-transparent manner, and in many cases a driver will not even be aware of its operation. However, anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability, an indicator light flashes in the instrument cluster. While the driver can deactivate the VSA stability enhancement and traction-control functions via a switch on the instrument panel, ABS remains fully operational at all times.

Brake Assist

A function of the VSA system, the Brake Assist feature recognizes emergency braking situations and almost instantly applies added braking force. This Brake Assist feature is controlled by a special logic in the system that evaluates the pedal application rate and force to recognize a panic stop situation. At that point, the VSA modulator pump increases braking pressure while the pedal is still being pressed to ensure maximum stopping force, an action that helps shorten braking distance as much as possible.

Advanced 4-Channel ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution

The Odyssey is fitted with 4-wheel disc brakes that have vented front rotors and solid rear rotors. (Please see Chassis section for more information.) The ABS system also incorporates Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions force based on the vehicle's weight distribution.

Dual-Stage, Multiple-Threshold Front Airbags

Both the driver and front passenger are protected by advanced front airbags (SRS) that incorporate dual-stage and multiple-threshold activation technology. One or both of these airbags will be deployed only in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, these airbags are capable of being inflated at different rates depending on crash severity, seatbelt usage and/or other factors. Like other Honda vehicles, the driver's front airbag is located in the steering wheel while the passenger airbag is located on the top of the dash. When deployed, the passenger airbag inflates upward and then rearward to maximize its protective potential while reducing the likelihood of injuries being caused by the activation process itself.

Driver and Front Passenger Side Airbags with Front Passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)

Driver's and front passenger's dual-chamber side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback are designed to provide pelvis and thorax protection in the event of a severe side impact. In addition, the front passenger's seat is equipped with the Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a child (or small-stature adult) leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy to help protect the occupant in a side impact. This unique system utilizes weight sensors and sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determine if it is safe to deploy the side airbag.

Three-Row Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensors

All three rows of outboard occupants are protected by a dual-inflator, three-row side curtain airbag with rollover sensor system, which is standard equipment. The side curtain airbags deploy from modules in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact, providing a significant level of head protection in the window area. In the unlikely event of a rollover, a roll-rate sensor, located in the floor, along with multiple G sensors determine the rate of roll and deploy the side curtain airbags accordingly. Like the other airbag systems in the vehicle, the side curtain system utilizes sensors to determine the most appropriate timing and rate of deployment of the airbags.

To provide the optimal level of protection for occupants, testing was performed to determine the most appropriate timing and rate of deployment in the unlikely event of a rollover. The system uses algorithms to continually evaluate the situation and determines whether a rollover is imminent. The roll-rate sensor and multiple G sensors determine the "scenario" and calculate the angle of roll and the speed of the vehicle in order to deploy the airbags at the correct stage for optimum protection. In the case of a rollover, the side curtain airbags on both sides of the vehicle will deploy. However, in the event of a sufficient side impact that does not result in a rollover, only the airbags on the impacted side of the vehicle will deploy. The airbag maintains full inflation for approximately three seconds after inflation to allow for the increased duration of a rollover accident.

Seat Belts

Three-point seatbelts are standard in all seating positions. The front seatbelts are equipped with automatic tensioners and load limiters to help minimize injury potential in a frontal collision. When an impact occurs, the automatic tensioner tightens the seatbelt (shoulder and lap) to help hold the seat occupant firmly in position. Each front seatbelt retractor incorporates a load limiter that works in conjunction with the automatic tensioner. The load limiter functions by permitting a small amount of controlled seatbelt slack shortly after the automatic tensioner is activated to limit the peak restraining forces, reducing the potential of serious injury. The front seatbelts also feature adjustable shoulder anchors. To help increase seat-belt usage, a reminder for the driver and front passenger has been incorporated into the instrument cluster. After starting the vehicle, a weight sensor detects whether the passenger seat is occupied. If the driver or passenger has not already fastened the seat belt, an icon in the cluster illuminates and a chime sounds as a reminder to do so.

Active Front-Seat Head Restraints

Both of the front seats are fitted with an innovative active head restraint designed to help reduce the likelihood of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. The head restraint is mechanically connected to a lumbar plate located inside of the seatback via special links. If a rear impact takes place, the seat is accelerated against the occupant's body. That action causes the head restraint to move forward and upward in a carefully prescribed arc. The effect of this motion helps keep the head and neck in line with the torso during a rear collision, thereby reducing the likelihood of whiplash injuries.

Adjustable Head Restraints for All Seating Positions

The first-, second- and third-row seats feature individually adjustable head restraints for all passenger seating positions. All second- and third-row head restraints comply with the new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for rear passenger head restraints that take effect for any all-new 2011-model-year-and-later vehicle. The new rules more closely specify the size, position and operation of the rear-seat head restraints.

Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH)

Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) provide a simple and convenient method to install compatible child safety seats in a vehicle. The 2011 Odyssey is equipped with a total of five LATCH attachment points (four in the LX), the most of any vehicle currently available on the market as of 2011 (the previous-generation Odyssey had three total). All three of the second-row seating positions (two in the LX, three in the EX and above) and both of the third-row outboard seating positions are fitted with dedicated LATCH attachment points. To accommodate three child seats in the second row, the new "3-mode" feature allows the distance between the seats to be increased by up to 1.5 inches. The additional space is enough room to accommodate up three conventionally sized child seats. The LATCH system features built-in, ready-to-use anchors and tethers allowing compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system. While most people may not have the need for five LATCH positions simultaneously, the ability to pick and choose which location works best for accommodating people or cargo can help families more conveniently maximize interior space.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The Odyssey is fitted with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that alerts a driver whenever the air pressure in one or more of the vehicle's tires decreases significantly below the recommended level. Using four sensors (one in each tire) TPMS monitors and transmits information on tire air pressure to the ECU. When the pressure in one or more tires drops to a potentially critical level, it causes a low tire-pressure indicator (located in the instrument cluster) to illuminate.

Safety R&D Facilities

Honda operates two of the world's most sophisticated crash test laboratories for the development of improved safety designs and technologies. The Tochigi facility in Japan is the world's first indoor multi-directional car-to-car crash testing facility and plays a critical role in the development of enhanced designs for occupant and pedestrian safety and vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility. Honda R&D America's Raymond, Ohio development center performs advanced testing on all North American-developed models. The facility features the world's first pitching test sled, which aids efficiency by enabling economical and speedy crash-test simulations with certain interior safety components, such as seats and seatbelts, prior to conducting a crash test with an actual vehicle. It also features one of the world's highest-resolution impact barriers, which enables precise measurement of the distribution of impact load forces on a vehicle.

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