Finally, a use for the chasm between the front seats and the center console.

Hyundai’s new center-console mounted airbag tackles the serious safety issue of front passengers hitting each other in a collision. 

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association’s statistics, the rate of secondary damage caused by passenger impacts and hitting interior materials is about 45%. To prevent this type of collision, Hyundai has designed an airbag for the center console area. When triggered it inflates and isolates the space between the front passengers. This new airbag concept is estimated to reduce head injuries caused by occupants colliding with each other by 80%. 

Hyundai utilized newly patented technologies to reduce the weight and size of the airbag while increasing its reliability. The South Korean automaker designed an internal component called a tether to support the interior of the lightweight airbag. With this airbag being roughly 500 grams lighter than competitors, it allows Hyundai a wealth of options for seat design in future vehicles.

Hyock In Kwon, a research engineer from Hyundai’s Crash System Engineering Design Team isn’t going to stop with just the center console airbag. “We will continue striving to further improve passenger safety by being ready for all kinds of accidents,” said Kwon. With the Euro NCAP safety organization adding side impact to their safety parameters next year, Hyundai should receive high ratings as they have before.

Hyundai’s vehicles are already rated highly by the Euro NCAP safety organization. Along with Euro NCAP, they have been awarded 5-Star overall safety ratings by NHTSA, and a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. These high-rated Hyundais include the Kona, Santa Fe, Tucson, and Nexo

In the world of motorsports we always see big innovations in safety after a driver is killed. With death being more commonplace on public roads, it’s surprising there aren’t more engineers raising the standard of safety in road vehicles.