The Pininfarina Nido concept from 2004 was created to
explore new solutions regarding crash protection in small
All modern passenger cars utilise crumple zones which
are designed to deform and slow down the deceleration
of the occupants. In large cars there is plenty of space
to incorporate these zones, in small cars it's not as
With their Nido concept Pininfarina looked at other solutions
to help protect the occupants.
The Nido consists of two main structures which work together
to provide the maximum protection in a limited space.
Firstly a chassis which accounts for roughly two thirds
of the total vehicle mass. The chassis supports all the
mechanical components, such as the front and rear suspension,
the engine etc. This chassis consists of a deformable
front section and a rigid safety cell surrounding the
occupants. Inside the chassis is a sled which holds the
driver and the passenger, together with the driving controls
The chassis and the sled are connected in normal conditions
by a third element, consisting of two energy dissipating
absorbers with controlled rigidity achieved by the combination
of three honeycomb sections of different density.
In the event of a head-on collision, the Nido absorbs
part of the energy with the deformable front section of
the chassis, constructed of two metal struts with internal
plastic foam absorbers. These components are shaped as
truncated cones in order to dissipate the energy over
the cellular sheet metal firewall, which in turn transfers
the energy along the central tunnel and the side members.
The remaining energy, due to the mass of the occupants
and the sled, shifts the sled itself forward and compresses
two honeycomb absorbers between the rigid cell and the
dashboard of the sled shell, resulting in the gradual
and controlled deceleration of the sled and the passengers.
Passive safety features of the Pininfarina Nido include
a low waistline, very wide windscreen and transparent
roof which ensures excellent visibility. To protect pedestrians
in the event of a collision the front moulding is completely
covered with a cushion of energy absorbing material. And
to reduce head injuries, the windscreen pillar is also
fitted with a collapsible covering consisting of an external
plastic section to fit in with the rest of the bodywork.
The interior trim and fittings of the Pininfarina Nido
were not simply designed for style, but have been developed
in consideration of the impact dynamics of the occupants
during an accident. The doors are fitted with rhomboid
aluminium alloy hinges and are oversized in comparison
with average comparable components on other cars to facilitate
the exit of occupants after an accident. The inner door
panel of the Nido has been designed so that there are
no hazardous protuberances during a collision.
The space normally taken up by the steering column and
traditional pedal box has been freed up by the use of
a 'steer and brake by wire' system, which means that these
components no longer intrude into the passenger compartment
and also allow the use of a spokeless steering wheel.
This last feature optimises instrument visibility, thus
further contributing to safety.
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