GM to introduce industry-first front center airbags


September 30, 2011

The front center airbag is designed to protect drivers and front passengers in the event of side impact crashes

The front center airbag is designed to protect drivers and front passengers in the event of side impact crashes

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With frontal, roof-mounted and rear-window airbags you'd be forgiven for thinking that there couldn't possibly be anywhere else in a car automobile manufacturers could cram one. But you'd be wrong. General Motors (GM) has just announced it will introduce the industry's first front center airbag in selected vehicles in 2013. The latest airbag addition is designed to protect drivers and front passengers in the event of side impact crashes.

Deploying from the right side of the driver's seat, the front center airbag positions itself between the front seats near the center of the vehicle. In addition to acting as an energy-absorbing cushion between the driver and the front passenger, the tethered, tubular airbag also acts as a restraint when the driver is the only front occupant of the vehicle.

After analyzing the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System database, GM says it found that far-side impact crashes accounted for 11 percent of the belted front occupant fatalities in non-rollover impacts between 2004 and 2009 involving 1999 model year or newer vehicles. It says these far-side fatalities, where the occupant is on the non-struck side of the vehicle, also accounted for 29 percent of all the belted front occupant fatalities in side impacts.

"While no restraint technology can address all body regions or all potential injuries," said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness, "the front center air bag is designed to work with the other air bags and safety belts in the vehicles to collectively deliver an even more comprehensive occupant restraint system."

GM will introduce the front center airbag on the Buick Enclave, GMC Arcadia and Chevrolet Traverse midsize crossovers in the 2013 model year. They will be fitted as standard on all Enclaves and all Arcadia and Traverse with power seats.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

What they(Gm) needs to do is to create a carbon fiber body light and strong enough not to provide enough resistance to a side impact that caused the death of the drive.

Flipider Comm

The importance of styrafoam(an oil-based product) is the small air pockets that collapse in accordance to the direction penetrating object in decreasing impact velocity. Such action to allow absorption as expansion is accruing by emulating each others movements could be done by reversing the current flow outwards layered expandable bag in the seat belt.

Flipider Comm

Enough already. In between air bags? Next they will require motorcycle helmets to be worn in a car and football shoulder pads.

Joseph Shimandle
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