Honda engineers in the USA have developed a new kind of front passenger airbag, designed to be more effective in front-on accidents.
Where conventional airbags use only one inflating component, the new Honda unit relies on four: a large central chamber, two chambers inflating outwards off the side, and a 'sail panel' linking the two outboard sections.
Honda says the chambers work in concert to catch the driver's head and bring it into the centre of the airbag, almost like a baseball catcher's mitt, minimising the chances a passenger's head will slide off the 'bag or dramatically rotate in awkwardly-angled accidents.
"This new airbag technology represents Honda's continuing effort to advance safety performance in a wider variety of crash scenarios and reflects the innovative thinking that our engineers are bringing to the challenge of reducing traffic injuries and fatalities," said Jim Keller, president of Honda R&D in the Americas.
The new airbag design will start rolling out in Honda USA products from 2020 onwards. There's no word on when it might make the move into Honda's global vehicles.