According to statistics by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, the rate of secondary damage caused by occupants colliding with each other or with interior parts is 45%. Hyundai Motor Group has developed a centre console airbag to additionally protect against lateral impacts between the driver and the front passenger, and the technology is set to be rolled out in its upcoming vehicles.

A newly-patented technology has been applied to the airbag in order to reduce weight and size, while maintaining the airbag’s reliability, Hyundai said. The centrally-mounted airbag includes a tether which holds it in place and maintain its form in order to hold up against an occupant’s weight, while its more compact design will give design teams more flexibility in crafting the interiors of new models, it added.

This addition should help Hyundai do well in upcoming Euro NCAP crash testing, which is expected to include more specific side impact tests in its evaluation from 2020 onwards, the company said. “The development of the centre side airbag goes beyond adding additional airbags. We will continue to further improve passenger safety by being ready for all kinds of accidents,” said Hyundai Motor Group crash safety system engineering research engineer Hyock In Kwon.

This is the second airbag development the Hyundai Motor Group announced in 2019. Earlier this year, the company announced that it has been working on a multi-collision airbag setup which enables redeployment of airbags upon a secondary impact. The multi-collision airbag setup will be fitted to future Hyundai and Kia models, the company said in January.