ZF AG’s Active and Passive Safety Technology Division, ZF TRW has commented that it has formed a new airbag which is designed for helping vehicle makers better side impact protection. The central airbag is integrated in the inner side of the back of the seat and deploys to protect the shoulder, torso and head areas of occupants sitting in front.
ZF TRW has explained its functionality saying that the central airbag aids in protecting occupants in near side and far side crashes through deploy of bag cushions between front seat passenger and driver.
In case there is a far side impact where an oncoming object or vehicle strikes the opposite side of the driver with adequate force the central airbag aids in keeping the driver in place. It would minimize the driver’s side displacement and lower interaction risk of the driver with the front seat passenger or surrounding structural vehicle’s interiors.
Global Engineer Director of ZF TRW, Dirk Schultz has commented that the risk to far side occupants at the time of side impact crashes is significant. Research shows that in US almost 30 percent of side impact fatalities have far side events whereas in Germany almost 30 percent of severely injured occupants in side crashes resulted from far side collisions.
The central airbag module has a hybrid inflator and makes use of sewn cushion or one piece woven bag technology. The module can be designed for meeting many different OEM vehicle design choices including tether mechanisms that promote triangular shapes upon deployment.
Schultz has commented that they have witnessed piqued interest in new airbag technologies. Euro NCAP is currently assessing newer side impact test protocols for 2018 and thereafter. Several new vehicles may need far side air bag modules if implemented.