RAYMOND, Ohio — Can a "passion for destruction" keep Honda passengers safe in a car crash?
Engineer Eric Heitkamp, who says that passion led him to a career running crash tests at Honda, certainly thinks so.
Heitkamp led the development of what the automaker calls a "next generation" passenger-side airbag — created in cooperation with Swedish supplier Autoliv — intended to lower the probability of injury in a wider variety of crashes by securing the passenger's head like a ball in a catcher's mitt and bringing the airbag closer to that passenger.
The technology, which was demonstrated to journalists during a tour of the Honda R&D Americas complex here last week, will debut in Honda Motor Co. vehicles next year. However, the automaker would not disclose which vehicles will be the first to get it.