ZF’s new central airbag enhances passengers’ safety image

ZF TRW has developed a new airbag that is meant to improve cars’ side impact protection and also to meet further safety requirements.

The automakers are always looking for new technologies to enhance passengers’ protection over accidents and to help their cars to achieve higher safety ratings. ZF TRW, the Active and Passive Safety Technology Division of ZF AG, has come up with a new airbag that is designed to help vehicle manufacturers improve side impact protection.

The center airbag helps protect occupants in ‘far-side’ and ‘near-side’ crashes by deploying a bag cushion between the driver and front seat passenger. In the event of a far-side impact, the inflators help keep the driver still, by minimizing side displacement of the driver and reducing the risk of interaction of the driver with the front seat passenger or structural vehicle interior parts. The center airbag module is equipped with a hybrid inflator and uses one-piece-woven bag or sewn cushion technology. The modules can be designed to meet the many different OEM vehicle design choices, including a tether mechanism which promotes a triangular shape upon deployment.

“The risk to far-side occupants during side impact crashes is significant,” Dirk Schultz, global engineering director, ZF TRW Inflatable Restraints Systems, said. “Accident research shows that in the USA, nearly 30 percent of side impact fatalities involve far side events, and in Germany, nearly 30 percent of severely injured occupants in side crashes resulted from far side collisions.” ZF TRW’s solution could help meet future safety requirements, as Euro NCAP is currently assessing new side impact test protocols for 2018 and beyond.