Front and Center: GM's Latest Safety Initiative
GM will introduce the world's very first front and center airbag in select 2013 vehicles, just in case things go sideways... Poof, instant travel pillow.
Posted October 03, 2011
By HOLLY JENNINGS, EVERGEEK MEDIA
Left, right, and now middle, GM just announced that the world's first front center air bag will be introduced shortly. The bag is designed protect drivers and front-seat passengers sitting on the opposite side of a side impact collision.
With the announcement, GM called attention to a study of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System database, which GM believes shows a glaring safety gap for car drivers and passengers: 11 percent of belted driver and passenger fatalities in non-rollerover collisions were shown to be a result of far-side impact crashes.
Takata, a safety technology supplier that has been working alongside GM in the development of the front center air bag, initially developed seat belts based on parachute technology. For the past three years, Takata and GM have tweaked design, packing, cushioning, and restraint of a new airbag system based on rigorous and varied crash tests. The net result is airbags to be located directly in between the driver and passenger seat. To look at them, they appear somewhat akin to an instant travel pillow (which they are not, of course).
"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."
Front center air bags will be standard on the Buick Englave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse midsize crossovers beginning in 2013. These vehicles have already received five-star Overall and Side Crash safety ratings from the NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program.
The new safety initiative is expected to bolster their reputation for offering customers superior crash protection, giving them the upper hand over a certain Swedish car manufacturer.