Side torso airbags and side curtain airbags have saved many lives since their introduction more than 20 years ago.
More recently, a third type of airbag designed to protect passengers in case of side impacts has gained popularity: the center side airbag. Hyundai Motor Group follows GM in introducing such a protective device designed to prevent front passengers from hurting their heads in the event of a side crash.
The airbag expands into the space between the driver and passenger to prevent front passengers from colliding with each other. If there is no one in the front passenger seat, the airbag will protect the driver from a side collision coming from the right side. The center side airbag is installed inside the driver’s seat and will deploy once an impact is sensed.
The Korean automaker claims it has developed “one of the lightest-weight center side airbags in the world” by applying newly patented technology to maintain reliability while reducing the weight and size of the airbag. Hyundai’s center side airbag is about 500 grams (1.1 lbs) lighter than competing products thanks to a simplified design and reduced component weight.
Furthermore, the smaller size of the airbag enables more flexibility in the type of seat design for future products. Hyundai says the new center side airbag is expected to reduce head injuries caused by passengers colliding with each other by 80 percent.
According to statistics from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, the rate of secondary damage caused by these kinds of collisions or from hitting interior materials is about 45 percent. The technology will be rolled out in upcoming vehicles from the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis.