A cushion between the driver and front passenger, but not to cuddle, but to save lives: in the new Toyota Yaris, the so-called center airbag is used in a small car. Two airbags unfold in the event of an impact between the front passengers. Above all, they are intended to prevent the front passengers from injuring each other.
It started with the classic airbag in the steering wheel. Since then, the number of air bags in our cars has been growing. In front of the passenger, as a “curtain” over almost the entire length of the passenger compartment, as “sidebags” in the seats to protect the chest and hips. There were also so-called “knee airbags” for the driver. A good ten years ago General Motors surprised with a new “center airbag”. A largely unknown technology that has now arrived in the new Toyota Yaris in a small car.
When the passenger kills the driver
“We have developed two additional airbags for the inside of the front seats, which are to minimize the risk of injury to the two front passengers . The main purpose of the system is to protect people who sit on the side facing away from the impact in the event of a side impact, ”explains chief engineer Yasunori Suezawa. US studies had already shown a good ten years ago that this scenario is responsible for around a third of all deaths of people wearing a seat belt. The serious injuries resulted mainly from the collision of the two front passengers. Hyundai investigations in the past year showed that the heads of the two front occupants collided in 80 percent of all side collisions with injuries.
The first with two center airbags
Many manufacturers therefore work on the central airbag between the front seats. General Motors introduced it to three large SUV models in 2013. The German supplier ZF showed his idea five years ago. Both systems work with only one airbag between the seats. Toyota, on the other hand, uses two of the small Yaris as standard, one for each front seat. Yasunori Suezawa: “We took a close look at the new rules for the European safety standard Euro NCAP that have been valid since this year and therefore decided on the new technology.” Toyota assumes that thanks to the center airbag in the Passenger Protection section, the Yaris will receive the highest number of points and thus safely achieve the top rating of five stars. The new Yaris is also coming to Europe this summer.