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Takata Congratulates GM on Winning ‘Best New Technology Award’ from AJAC

The Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) selected the Front Center Airbag as their Best New Technology winner for 2013. The co-developed General Motors (GM) and Takata safety system, the Front Center Airbag (FCAB), was selected over several crash avoidance systems, brake technologies, and other new industry innovations. Each technology was described by the implementing … Continued

The Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) selected the Front Center Airbag as their Best New Technology winner for 2013. The co-developed General Motors (GM) and Takata safety system, the Front Center Airbag (FCAB), was selected over several crash avoidance systems, brake technologies, and other new industry innovations. Each technology was described by the implementing OEM in a 20-minute presentation, followed by a 10-minute question and answer period, with the AJAC committee then voting and naming General Motors and the FCAB the winner.

As of 2013, only three cars in the world will be equipped with these airbags: the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse (all crossover-sized vehicles). “It turned out that automotive industry supplier Takata was independently researching side-impact safety at the same time as GM” said Kristen Hall-Geisler, writer and editor from Howstuffworks.com. “Rather than struggle alone, teams headed by Scott Thomas at GM and Richard Wiik at Takata joined forces. The FCAB that was born of this collaboration was five-years in the making and resulted in nearly a half dozen patents.”

The new airbag serves a multi-functional safety role in a number of crash scenarios. In some crash tests, the airbag made the difference between escaping a collision relatively unscathed versus receiving serious injuries. Implementing the new technology faced many challenges due to technical difficulties in getting the airbag to properly deploy from the driver’s seat and effectively fill the center space, but a three-year cooperative effort with GM resulted in the new airbag advancement which GM states could help prevent 29% of fatalities in side crashes. The new FCAB also is designed to help prevent head and spinal injuries resulting from the violent side-to-side motions side-impact crashes produce.

“We are always working closely with our customers examining the safety risks of today and tomorrow, and the far-side impact seemed to be an area requiring more diligent attention, testing and safety engineering design,” said Robert Fisher, Executive Vice President, TK Holdings Inc., Takata’s North American subsidiary. “We are very proud to have worked so closely with GM to make this safety systems advancement a reality, and we congratulate them for receiving the highly-recognized Best New Technology for 2013
recognition they recently received from the AJAC.”

The new safety feature is not currently required by federal regulation, but many industry experts predict this option will result in GMs products achieving “Top Safety Picks” in upcoming Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests. “The front-center airbag has real potential to save lives in side crashes,” said Adrian Lund, President of the IIHS. “GM and Takata are to be commended for taking the lead in this very important area.”

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