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Honda’s New Airbag Innovation Like a ‘Catcher’s Mitt’ for Your Head

Honda Next-Generation Airbag

Honda announced the development of a new airbag for front passengers designed to reduce injuries in more types of frontal collisions. The new design eschews the traditional single-compartment pillow for a three-compartment design with raised outer compartments and a “sail panel” extending in between the outer portions that will help to catch and slow movement of the occupant’s head before drawing the outer compartments around the head to further protect occupants from harm.

Related: Honda Gets Head Start on Recalling Last of Deadly Takata Airbag Inflators

The new airbag design aims to help in all crashes — but particularly in frontal collisions that happen at an angle. In those crashes, it’s possible that an occupant’s head may rotate in such a way as to cause injury or even slide off a traditional airbag entirely, greatly increasing the risk of injury. By slowing, stabilizing and cushioning more of an occupant’s head, Honda’s new airbag design will hopefully prevent some of those injuries.

“Operating something like a baseball catcher’s mitt, the sail panel catches and decelerates the occupant’s head while also engaging the side chambers, pulling them inward to cradle and protect the head, mitigating the potential for injury,” Honda said in a statement.

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The design was developed at Honda’s Raymond, Ohio, advanced safety research center. Honda has also committed to making its Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies, as well as the AcuraWatch suite from its Acura luxury division, standard on nearly all models by 2022.

The airbag innovation comes after Honda became a prominent name in years’ worth of airbag-related headlines for unfortunate reasons: The manufacturer is one of many that used Takata airbag inflators in its vehicles, and the potentially faulty inflators have caused more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries in the U.S. alone.

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