Active Car Bonnet actuator system

Computer model showing the trajectory of a person who's been struck by a car with an improved bonnet lifting mechanism

We're looking for a commercial partner to develop a physical car bonnet lifting mechanism device suitable for use in existing and future vehicles.

We've developed an improved active car bonnet lifting mechanism. When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the device pushes the bonnet upwards with a spring-loaded mechanism, reducing the chance of serious injury to the pedestrian due to the shock-absorbing space created under the bonnet. An electrical trigger by the car's airbag system allows easy integration into existing designs or retrofitting into existing vehicles.

The mechanism is resilient to minor damage and to distortion of the surrounding bodywork, allowing the driver to reset it easily following a collision. Existing systems are prone to misalignment, effectively immobilising the vehicle, as they cannot be reset without the need for complicated manipulation, resetting software or replacement of consumable components, such as explosive bolts.

Due to the simplicity of our design, manufacturing costs will be significantly reduced compared to existing devices. The design also offers a new and more flexible resetting mechanism.

Weight and size, both critical factors in modern car design, are smaller compared to existing devices.

The innovative design will allow rapid deployment regardless of the vehicle type or adopting system.

The design has been analysed as a computer model to validate the functionality and operation.

Commercial opportunities

We're now seeking a commercial partner to develop a physical device suitable for use in existing and future vehicles. Suitable partners will be motor manufacturers or vehicle component manufacturers. Further investment, either direct funding or through government-funded initiatives such as Innovate UK, is necessary to develop the device from computer model to saleable product. We estimate that a product can be developed within 1-2 years for an investment of estimated £15K - £25K depending on the level of validation desired by the investor.

Our preferred commercialisation model will be licensing of patented IP to a commercial partner using a royalty-based model.

The design elements of the active bonnet release have the potential for patent protection, and this will be sought once a commercial partner has been found. To discuss further details of this opportunity, the University will require potential partners to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Active Car Bonnet Actuator System (PDF)

Get in touch

Contact Sarah Bell in our Research and Innovation Development Office for more information.