Hyundai developing central armrest airbag

The Hyundai Motor Group's latest airbag is designed to prevent head injuries from 'secondary' impacts.
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Your next Hyundai or Kia could feature a new type of side-impact protection, with the Hyundai Motor Group revealing a front armrest-mounted side impact airbag.

The new airbag is designed to stop head injuries caused by front passengers colliding with each other, or hard objects in the cabin. Research quoted by Hyundai claims 'secondary' impacts in the cabin are responsible for 45 per cent of head injuries in side-impact collisions.

According to the company, the central airbag is installed in the space between the driver's seat and transmission tunnel, and inflates into the space between the driver and passenger in a side impact.

If there are passengers on board, it'll prevent drivers from bashing into them. If there's no-one in the passenger seat, the airbag will help protect from impacts coming from the passenger side, and stop them whacking into hard objects around the cabin.

To make sure the airbag can support the weight of a passenger, it's tethered to what appears to be an anchor on the side of the seat.

Hyundai says it's managed to make the tether unit 500g lighter than competing products, allowing it to create more interesting seat designs and shapes without impeding the airbag's operation.

According to the company, Euro NCAP regulations are expected to more specific considerations surrounding side impacts. The new airbag is aimed at meeting those regulations.

"The development of centre side airbag goes beyond adding an additional airbag," said Hyock In Kwon, research engineer from the Crash Safety System Engineering Design Team of Hyundai Motor Group.

"We will continue striving to further improve passenger safety by being ready for all kinds of accidents."