In an accident it is the airbag that we rely on to save our lives.
Over the decades automakers have developed airbags to mitigate injuries from frontal impacts as well as those from the side, including rollovers, but until recently manufacturers and parts suppliers have not addressed the dangers associated with occupants suffering injury through contact with one another or parts of a vehicle’s interior during a crash. GM was the first to announce center-mounted airbags starting in 2013, and Toyota and Mercedes-Benz have been testing similar systems.
That could change soon as regulatory agencies are giving this technology a second look.
“We are experiencing rising interest in this new airbag technology and Euro NCAP is currently assessing new side impact test protocols for 2018 and beyond,” said Dirk Schultz, global engineering director, ZF TRW Inflatable Restraints Systems. “If implemented, we believe that many new vehicles could require far-side airbag modules.”
German supplier ZF TRW has developed a new center airbag design aimed at protecting occupants in “far-side” and “near-side” crashes, in which the vehicle sustains an impact from the side and occupants hit each other, even if side-impact airbags deploy as designed.