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GM introduces the world's first front center air bag [video]

Debuts on the 2013 Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse

General Motors has introduced the world's first front center air bag which will debut on the 2013 Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse.

Created to reduce injuries in side impact crashes, the air bag deploys from the driver's seat and positions itself above the center console. This helps to keep occupants restrained while providing a protective cushion between the driver and front passenger.

According to Gay Kent, GM's executive director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness, "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."

Source: GM

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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Comments (10)

 Mister Stig Mister Stig
GM has always been full of hot air!
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October 11, 2011 12:03 pm
 xoff xoff
completely useless. like the airbags auto-manufacturers used to place inside the doors. it is yet another desperate attempt to attact more buyers.
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October 2, 2011 6:06 am
 MFlorinBikle MFlorinBikle
This vid is funny…The dummy doesn’t have a left arm, allowing “him” to slide far to the right and since when does a seat belt cut through the waist?
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September 30, 2011 11:14 am
 mhectorgato mhectorgato
So is the next step to have expanding foam fill the entire contents of vehicle in the event of an accident?
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September 30, 2011 9:25 am
 PAA PAA
Your point is? Perhaps being a benz_man you had to find some way to mention Mercedes in this article.
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September 30, 2011 12:05 am
 benz_man benz_man
Pretty sure the 2013 s-class will have these also...
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September 29, 2011 10:04 pm
 pzigly pzigly
lol i thought when they said middle airbag they ment for a rear passenger sitting in the middle. That airbag helps a bit but it would be better if it had a little more material to support the air bag from allowing further sideways action of the driver.
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September 29, 2011 9:37 pm
 ///AMG ///AMG
could be better
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September 29, 2011 7:50 pm