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Chevy Cruze gets 'flexible venting' airbag

New design reduces the risk of inflation-induced injuries for drivers.

By Douglas Newcomb Dec 19, 2012 11:44AM

Chevy Cruze flexible venting air bag. Image by GM.A few years back, a neighbor returned home after a fender-bender with road rash on his face -- and he never touched the asphalt.  It was from the impact of the airbag deployment in his car. 

 

Automotive manufacturers have been working to create airbags that are gentler on the driver when deployed, even in less expensive vehicles. Case in point: The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze will feature the industry’s first driver-side “flexible venting” airbag technology.

 

Whereas more complex, dual-stage airbags use separate inflators for low-speed and high-speed crashes, the Cruze’s new “smart airbag” uses one lower-output inflator for both low- and high-speed crashes. According to General Motors, the new system's more compact, lighter-weight, flexible vent reduces the risk of inflation-related injury by allowing the driver’s forward momentum to push the air out and away.

 

While higher-end vehicles provide equivalent crash protection with more expensive and complex airbag systems, the 2013 Cruze is the first vehicle in its class to offer flexible venting technology. GM also noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently tested the 2013 Cruze with the new airbag technology and that the car received NHTSA’s maximum five-star overall vehicle score -- the same rating it received in 2011 and 2012 when it used a dual-stage airbag system.


You can see the new airbag in action in the videos below.


[Source: GM]


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