Stretching down the entire side of the van, the single unit measures almost 4.6 metres long, one metre tall and with a volume of 120 litres.
Ford says the new system will protect all passengers on one side of the van in the event of a side-impact collision or vehicle rollover.
Despite its size, Ford says “two of the industry’s largest inflators [can] fill the entire airbag with stored gas in a fraction of a second”.
Ford developed the new airbag in partnership with TRW Automotive, a global supplier of active and passive safety systems.
“This airbag technology is unique in its purpose, which is to help provide protection across five rows of passengers in a cabin that is more spacious than the more traditional light-duty vehicle,” TRW’s Norbert Kagerer said.
“The stringent customer and industry regulatory requirements for airbags called for developing a system that provides appropriate occupant protection in a smart package.”
The Transit is available in three roof-heights, two wheelbases and three body lengths, with the ability to carry up to 15 passengers.
Customers in the US and Canada will be the first to see the new safety feature in the 2015 Ford Transit, while timing and availability for other markets is unclear at this stage.
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