3. October 2011
Is airbag inflation occurring in the auto industry?
Owners of the Scion iQ, the diminutive city car recently launched, get 11 standard airbags, including the world’s first rear-window airbag.
General Motors, which is no slouch when it comes to safety, will be offering another airbag first on the 2013 Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse midsize crossovers: The front center airbag.
The front center airbag deploys from the right side of the driver’s seat and is positioned between the two front row seats.
It addresses several scenarios.
If you’re driving alone and there is an impact on the far side of the car, then the tubular bag from Takata acts as a side restraint.
If you’re driving with a front-seat passenger and there is a collision on either side, then it acts as a cushion between the two of you.
And it is expected to be beneficial during rollovers, as well.
GM engineers analyzed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System database and found that far-side impact crashed accounted for 11% of the belted front occupant fatalities in non-rollover impacts between 2004 and 2009 (in vehicles model year 1999 or newer).
Says Scott Thomas, senior staff engineer who works on GM’s advanced restraint systems, “The front center airbag is not required by federal regulation, and no other airbag in passenger vehicles today offers the type of restraint and cushioning this airbag is designed to provide for front occupants.”
GM and Takata worked on developing the airbag over a three-year period.
While this proliferation might seem as though it is airbag vs. airbag, it is a big win for safety.