Hyundai Puts Air Between You and Your Front Passenger
Just when you thought there couldn't be any more airbags in a car, they've found a new place to put one to help keep you safe in a crash.
The latest in safety tech from Hyundai is designed to come between you and your front passenger. In the tradition of Amazing Discoveries, it’s a “but wait, there’s more.” Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more airbags in a car, they’ve found a new place to put one to help keep you safe in a crash.
The latest is called a centre side airbag. It’s designed to fit into the space between the driver and the passenger seat. Mounted in the driver’s seat, but basically expanding into the space above where the armrest would go. The point of the new bag is to prevent a meeting of the minds. In this case, to stop the driver’s head from cracking into that of the passenger in the event of a collision.
If there’s nobody in the passenger seat, the center side airbag still fires. In that case, Hyundai says, it still protects the driver from an impact on the passenger side.
Hyundai says that the new airbag is expected to reduce injuries by 80 percent in situations where passengers collide with each other in a crash. Hyundai cites European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association statistics that the rate of secondary damage caused in these types of collisions, or by hitting interior materials, is about 45 percent.
It’s a special new airbag that’s required to work in this application, one Hyundai says is 500g lighter than competing products. That will, going forward, allow Hyundai engineers more flexibility in how they design seats that can still hold the airbag. The centre side bag also is fitted with an internal tether that lets it inflate while holding the desired shape and withstanding the weight of a passenger.
“The development of centre side airbag goes beyond adding an additional airbag.”said Hyock In Kwon, research engineer from the crash safety system engineering design team of Hyundai. “We will continue striving to further improve passenger safety by being ready for all kinds of accidents.”
Hyundai says that upcoming Euro NCAP crash testing is expected to begin including side impacts into safety ratings starting next year, and it anticipates that the airbag is “expected to work favourably in such evaluation.” It also brings us one step closer to the Secure Foam-filled car of Demolition Man.