Aerospace company tapped by carmakers to run Takata airbag tests image

Orbital ATK has been selected recently by a group of 10 automakers to run their ongoing testing procedures in an investigation that seeks to find the root cause of the Takata airbag issues.

The ten automakers have been involved in the massive recalls that started back in 2008 due to Takata’s airbag inflator problems – they tend to explode with too much force, sending metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity. The Japanese auto safety supplier is unable to find the root cause of the defect and the consortium of automakers embarked on their own probe of the issue. Now Orbital ATK, an aerospace and defense contractor, will test on their behalf the inflators. The firm has expertise in rocket propulsion systems, which could bring invaluable knowledge into Takata’s ammonium nitrate use as the propellant of the faulty airbag inflators. In the US alone around 17 million vehicles have been recalled because of the issue, with the defect linked with at least six fatalities and dozens of injuries.

The automaker consortium has been formed by Toyota, Honda, Fiat-Chrysler, BMW, Mazda, Ford, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Nissan and General Motors. They also selected David Kelly, a former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be the leader in charge of the program. “Orbital ATK is one of the world’s leading engineering firms, and we are confident that their extensive expertise will help speed and advance the ongoing technical investigation of Takata airbag inflators,” said a statement from the group.

Via Automotive News