The central airbag developed by Škoda is located in the driver’s seat armrest area; its function is to protect front seat occupants in the event of side impacts, preventing their heads from colliding.
Reduce road accident fatalities to zero: this is the goal of Vision Zero, a multinational initiative that promotes the most effective measures to ensure and increase the safety of all road users.
The same spirit also shared by the independent consumer organisation Euro NCAP, which evaluates the safety of cars through crash tests: its requirements are increasingly stringent and the results obtained by Škoda vehicles are consistently recognized by the organization, through the assignment of the highest rating, the five stars. In order to maintain these standards, the Czech brand works to further improve safety features in its vehicles, also by developing new solutions.
Active and passive safety
Active safety systems use cameras, radar and sensors to prevent accidents; passive safety systems, on the other hand, are designed to minimize the consequences of an accident through optimally designed bodywork and sophisticated restraint systems.
The latter category includes the center airbag, available in the latest generation of Octavia and a standard in the Enyaq iV and Enyaq Coupe iV. "Škoda cars have long been among the highest rated in Euro NCAP tests, partly because of their high-precision passive restraint systems, including the center airbag", explains Klára Ševčíková, Head of Development of this component at Škoda.
The central airbag is located in the driver's seat armrest area; its presence is revealed by the fabric label with the word "Airbag" on the side of the armrest above the center console. Its function is to protect occupants in the event of side impacts by preventing the driver's and passenger's heads from colliding.
Therefore, the design of the central airbag takes into account the various positions of the front seats - in relation to each other - as well as different body types. Static and dynamic tests thoroughly verify the airbag's functionality and effectiveness before it is approved for series production. As an example, in static tests the airbag must deploy properly in both low and high temperatures.
Another set of tests for airbags includes an up to 12-weeks program for simulating material ageing. The component is put through its paces inside a climate chamber under extreme conditions - among severe temperature fluctuations, salt fog and dust.
Dynamic tests, i.e., crash tests, creates a very accurate and realistic simulation of what happens during a crash. In this context, the airbag must perform its restraining function perfectly. Various criteria are evaluated, such as the coverage of the potential impact area of the head, the biomechanical values measured on the dummies, and the correct and timely activation of the airbag.
How the central airbag works
If the car's sensors detect a side impact or a combination of impacts in an accident, the central airbag is deployed within a few milliseconds, along with the other restraint systems. The airbag is fired and filled with gas in the space between the front seats and above the center console. Its function is to slow the movement of the front-seat occupants towards each other and to prevent, as far as possible, a direct collision between their heads and possibly their shoulders.
If, on the other hand, the impact is on the passenger side and the driver is alone in the car, the central airbag will cushion the driver’s body movement and reduce injuries that may occur, for example, to the ribs, arms and neck.
VGI | Responsible OU: VP | Creation date: article date | Class 9.1