• GM Center Air Bag comparison

  • GM Center Air Bag deployed

  • GM Center Air Bag deployed

  • GM Center Air Bag comparison

Just when you thought automakers couldn't shove any more inflatables into a vehicle's cabin, General Motors has introduced yet another new airbag. The company's new front center airbag is basically designed to keep the driver in place during a solo far-side impact, as well as prevent occupants from bouncing off of one another if there is more than one person in the car. The new device is set to be introduced as standard equipment on models like the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia with power seats beginning in the 2013 model year. The tethered, tube-shaped airbag deploys from the right side of the driver's seat and positions itself in the center of the vehicle.

GM says that the company's analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data revealed that far-side impact crashes accounted for 11 percent of the belted front occupant fatalities in non-rollover incidents between 2004 and 2009, and that those deaths represented 29 percent of all fatalities in all side-impact crashes.

Automotive parts supplier Takata co-developed the airbag with GM over the course of three years. Hit the jump for the full press release as well as a video of the device in action.



Show full PR text
GM Introduces Industry's First Front Center Air Bag

New safety feature designed to help protect driver, front passenger in side impact crashes

DETROIT – General Motors will introduce the industry's first front center air bag, an inflatable restraint designed to help protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.

The front center air bag will be introduced on the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse midsize crossovers in the 2013 model year. This new safety feature will be standard on Acadia and Traverse with power seats and all Enclaves.

The front center air bag deploys from the right side of the driver's seat and positions itself between the front row seats near the center of the vehicle. This tethered, tubular air bag is designed to provide restraint during passenger-side crashes when the driver is the only front occupant, and also acts as an energy absorbing cushion between driver and front passenger in both driver- and passenger-side crashes. The air bag also is expected to provide benefit in rollovers.

GM analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System database, found that far-side impact crashes, which the front center airbag primarily addresses, 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. These far-side fatalities, where the occupant is on the non-struck side of the vehicle, also represent 29 percent of all the belted front occupant fatalities in side impacts.

"The front center air bag is not required by federal regulation, and no other air bag in passenger vehicles today offers the type of restraint and cushioning this air bag is designed to provide for front occupants," said Scott Thomas, senior staff engineer in GM's advanced restraint systems.

The front center air bag is expected to add to the vehicles' record of third-party crash test performance. The 2012 model year editions of these midsize crossovers have received five-star Overall and Side Crash safety ratings from NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program, and 2011 Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"The front center airbag has real potential to save lives in side crashes," said Adrian Lund, president of the insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "GM and Takata are to be commended for taking the lead in this important area."

GM and technology supplier Takata developed the front center air bag over the course of three years, testing many design iterations to achieve packaging, cushioning, and restraint for a variety of crashes and occupant positions. Numerous elements of the air bag's jointly patented cushion design address the restraint's unique performance characteristics while considering a range of occupant sizes.

"While no restraint technology can address all body regions or all potential injuries, 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," said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness. "This technology is a further demonstration of GM's above-and-beyond commitment to provide continuous occupant protection before, during and after a crash."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      MachDelta
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm guessing it won't be much longer until we just have cars that fill up with foam on impact, like in Demolition Man...
        EvilTollMan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MachDelta
        The foam should be edible so if you roll off a cliff in the middle of nowhere at least you could eat!
      :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      I already have a front center airbag....... my wife in the front seat. Ba-dump-Ba
        • 3 Years Ago
        @:)
        [blocked]
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      Pretty soon we'll have airbags to cushion you from airbags. "Yo dawg, I heard you like airbags, so we put an airbag in an airbag so you can chat on your phone and drive like a d-bag."
      Dark Gnat
      • 3 Years Ago
      I say develop air bags that go off *outside* of the car, and cushion the impact of the whole vehicle. That way people texting with one hand and eating an ice cream cone with the other (I've actually seen a lady do this, with a kid in the passenger seat) won't have to worry about so much damage to their cars when hitting jaywalkers and other people text-drivers.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Mr. ROBoto
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't wait until my coffee (not really, nothing but water in my car, but for the sake of argument....) and my cell phone launch into my face when the bag deploys. Not to mention my right arm clocking me in the chin. FAIL.
        Dark Gnat
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mr. ROBoto
        Yes, because in a car accident, object waould stay in place all nice and tidy? No matter ho good a safetly system is, it doesn't prevent drivers from being dumbasses.
        Fred
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mr. ROBoto
        Well, the coffee and or right arm might be a little less damaging than lets say the passenger or the other side door of the car "meeting you" in a slightly more aggressive way! It is funny how people talk about the airbags hurting you, did you see that statistics, they were talking about 11% of all fatalities being from this accident type....do you know what Fatality means? No more coffee (or water for that matter!)...
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      More airbags? Holy-! No wonder cars are getting heavier & a lot more expensive to insure/repair. How long until this is mandatory.
        Tim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Airbags don't have much to do with the increased weight of a car. Its other little amenities and luxuries that are adding weight, on top of the fact that generally, it costs more to put lighter metals in a car than heavier ones.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tim
          [blocked]
      DKano
      • 3 Years Ago
      They need to do more testing. The two dummies hit their heads against each other on the video. The airbag was too far foward.
        gnvlscdt23f
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DKano
        No, they did not. You can even see the greasepaint on the pass. side where the dummy hit the airbag and not the other dummy's head.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      연
      • 3 Years Ago
      Please use Airbags Jump Belt.
      AlphaGnome
      • 3 Years Ago
      This seems like a pretty good idea for the most part. What I find interesting about it though, is that they are going to offer it first in larger vehicles where there might be plenty of room between the front seat occupants. It seems to me that this should be offered in smaller vehicles, where the occupants are generally much closer first.
      andreaccs
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnyhkBU1yaw
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