Vehicle: Car: Safety: Crash
SUV Deflector™   (0)  [vote for, against]
Up and over, with a twist

Sept. 30 2004 © 2004 HalfBakery Future News Service.

Stephanie Simpson of Bel Air, California (a town known for its unpaved roads and steep terrain) was irate when she learned just what had happened to her last week when she took her eyes off the road for mere moments. She was trying to adjust her child's DVD player in the back seat of her Lincoln Navigator when, "It's like I told Jake, he and I were, like, on the phone when it happened?, this little bitty car appeared out of NOWHERE and slammed on the brakes, instead of absorbing my impact, like the other little cars always used to, it was all hunkered down and suddenly the kids and I are, like, sailing over the little car! I was all, 'This is scary!' and the kids were all, 'Yeah mom, fly the Navigator!' and then we came crashing down on the road ahead of the little car. All the axels or whatever they are called, got busted and my beautiful Navigator just slid around on its, like, stomach till we stopped. It really freaked me out. And all I could think of is just how rude that was for them not to, you know, 'take it.'"

Ms. Simpson, a recovering pilates instructor, later learned that she had just encountered Auto-Judotech's SUV-deflector™ technology. A merger of an overbuilt roof-rack, a pair of home garage ramps and a soap box racer's brakes, this retrofit for lighter cars is "evening up the score" in asymmetric two-vehicle collisions. Chief designer Akira Johansen of the Berkeley, California, based company, explains how this ugly but effective aftermarket kit works:

"At the rear of the protected vehicle are a pair of ramps that, in the event of a rear-end collision, guide the other vehicle up and onto the pair of fore and aft rails that protect the car from the now overhead SUV. These are treated with Teflon™ so the SUV can gently slide forward and drop off the front. This last stage, "shedding," in the lingo of the company, allows the bulk of the energy in the careening SUV to remain with that vehicle and move forward of the protected vehicle.

To minimize damage to the protected car, part of the impact of the SUV is translated into a 10-inch by 20-inch friction pad that drops between the two ramps and, while the SUV is in contact with the ramps, dramatically slows down the protected vehicle and improves the "shedding" performance.

When asked to elaborate on early problems with handling while the friction pad was down, Johansen said, "These characteristics were improved by moving the pad rearward. Now it is like deploying a parachute, like a drag racer, really smooth and even pressure." In the current configuration it spews a stinky smoke of burned rubber, "definitely a boost to the user experience now... it is soooo cool!" Johansen, 37 and inexplicably single, enthused.

All is not sweetness and light, however. Johansen was unable to reassure those concerned with a rash of after-after market adaptations that alter the relationship between the rails to induce a "spiral" to the vehicle during the so called "shedding" stage... "We don't endorse this untested adaptation but are interested in any video people might have for our internal website, because it is so very, very wrong to do that."

Henry Honda (no relation to the auto-maker(s)) of the National Right Of Way Mediation Group (a non- partisan traffic think tank) is concerned about this escalation in the battle between the Davids and Goliaths of the nation's roadways. "I studied Judo a bit in my younger days and I see the theory here. However, I do not see how the Auto- Judotech folks are going to meet the challenges posed the next class of SUVs with their built-in armor piercing hooks jutting out from the underlying truck rails." He cited the missing crumple zones in most SUVs and their need for other vehicles (and presumably passengers) to "take up the slack." Just where it will all end is anyone's guess.

When asked if the SUV Deflector™ worked on so called "big-rigs" Johansen grew quiet and, upon reflection admitted, "We are a small company and our testing budget would not allow us to buy an 18- wheeler to trash. Plus we use a very expensive fembot to drive the SUV- deflector™ protected car. None of us want to risk squashing her." He did admit that the steep upward angle of the deflector was likely to decouple the trailer from the tractor. Computer simulations were, in his words, "gruesome for all concerned."
-- DadManWalking, Feb 05 2004

I know, but i thought different enough... http://www.halfbake...0Prevention_20Ramps
the effort at arting it up and the brake pad should count no? [DadManWalking, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Bun - for it made me laugh
-- lolo, Feb 05 2004

Well written.
-- English Bob, Feb 05 2004

Adding a bulky rail system like this would dramatically effect fuel economy and might even overload your economy car. Which would in effect make you more like your most hated enemy than I'm sure you would like.
-- SystemAdmin, Feb 05 2004

Hey [SystemAdmin] I think your irony detector needs to go into the shop for some tuning. [edited to be less nasty: my tone-o-meter's gauge made jab look like gybe, sorry]
-- DadManWalking, Feb 05 2004

How would you dissuade SUV drivers from using the ramps intentionally (in lieu of overtaking on the left or right)?
-- AO, Feb 05 2004

Heyo [AO]

Good question... I'm thinking a light distribtion of the "spiral" inducers (carefully disguised) would make the risk- reward calculation fairly persuasive against jumping...

But if the SUV can take the 5' drop at speed then good on ya! This would limit the tailgating time and reduce the amount of manoevering at speed for the big vehicle. A win-win (or whine- whine if you rather.)
-- DadManWalking, Feb 05 2004

Extremely amusingly written. Plus for that and the mental images!
-- gnomethang, Feb 05 2004

Akira Johansen wanted to know if he should step up production... things seem pretty quite around here but 2 pastries might be a good sign.
Still no word on what the DVD player was playing.
-- DadManWalking, Feb 12 2004

Take away the great writing, and there's still a great idea. Where can I buy one?

It'd be even better if it wasn't aftermarket. Built as part of the car design, it could be much lighter, and even reduce air drag.

No need to make the rear-ender's path any more pleasant, as they are considered at-fault in 99% of rear-end collisions. And this wouldn't just work for SUV's, but anything with enough clearance to go up the ramp.
-- sophocles, Feb 12 2004

Hey [sophocles]

at one point the idea was even uglier, rather than ramping up and over there was a pole-vault aspect where the defended car had a stout pole sticking two feet out from the back and aimed down toward the pavement. On impact this pole would both dig into the pavement and puncture the aggressor car enough to establish a grip. The pole would have a pommel to limit penetration into the aggressor vehicle and maximize the vaulting element. Maybe my colonization of this category requires I spin that earlier idea into a separate post.
-- DadManWalking, Feb 12 2004

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