Johnson Controls' innovation leads the market in whiplash prevention

riACT-head restraints contribute to five-star rating

Picture is available via epa european pressphoto agency and can be downloaded free of charge at: http://www.presseportal.de/pm/19526/1671126

Burscheid, Germany - 26 August, 2010. Johnson Controls supplies pro-active riACT-head restraints for the front seats of the new BMW 5 Series sedan, GT and Touring models, minimizing the risk of whiplash in the event of a rear impact. Euro NCAP-simulations have verified the positive results of Johnson Controls' in-house tests: The BMW 5 Series was awarded the highest grade, "good", for the protection of its front seats in the case of a rear impact.

"The riACT-head restraints in the BMW 5 Series are impressive, with their protection capability, high degree of comfort and attractive pricing," commented Alexander Hasler, director sales of Johnson Controls Automotive Experience's riACT-system worldwide. Hasler, a medical doctor and biomechanist, has been working on the causes of whiplash-injuries and technologies to prevent them over the last decade.

Whiplash is an injury sustained in rear-end collisions and is the result of being impacted while either in a slowly travelling or stationary car. "The rear impact causes the occupants' bodies to be accelerated forward while their unsupported heads abruptly move backward in relation to their bodies. As a result, the cervical vertebrae are often stretched to such a degree that ligaments, muscles, intervertebral discs and nerves suffer injuries. Typical consequences are headaches, neck-pain, nausea, vomiting and difficulties in concentrating," Hasler explained. Effective protection is provided by active head restraints. They prevent the harmful rearward displacement of the head by providing it with effective support in the event of a rear impact.

To achieve this effect, the head restraint must be positioned as close to the back of the head as possible. "Many drivers, however, find this constant contact between head and head restraint uncomfortable," Hasler admits. Thus Johnson Controls' riACT-head restraint is not only height- but also horizontally adjustable. The front-passengers can move the self-locking front-section of the head restraint over a span of 54 millimeters, to find a comfortable distance between head and restraint.

In a rear-end collision in which the differential speed is greater than 6 mph, a small, pyrotechnic initiator releases a telescopic mechanism inside the head restraint. In a fraction of a second it extends the front-section of the head restraint forward to support the head before it snaps backward, preventing or at least greatly mitigating serious consequences associated with whiplash. "Even if the head restraint is set to give greater clearance from the back of the head, this system still guarantees optimum protection." Hasler describes the main benefit of Johnson Controls' pro-active head restraint as follows: "Irrespective of its positioning, in the event of an accident, within 25 milliseconds the front-surface of the head restraint is in place to support the head before the whiplash-motion can even happen."

The riACT-system chosen by BMW is activated by a signal supplied by the vehicle's crash sensors; hence it always deploys its maximum protective function irrespective of the occupant's height, weight or seating-position. Johnson Controls supplies its pro-active riACT-head restraints to BMW's assembly lines ready-cabled and pre-tested. Once on the line, it is inserted into the seatbacks and connected up to the vehicle's CAN bus.

Full press release and photos are available at www.johnsoncontrols.co.uk/press.

Further information is available from:

Johnson Controls GmbH
Automotive Experience
Industriestra├če 20-30
51399 Burscheid

Ulrich Andree

Tel.: +49-2174-65-4343

Fax: +49-2174-65-3219

E-mail: ulrich.andree@jci.com