While vehicle manufacturers are taking this "safety thing
" to new heights (not that we're complaining
or anything), the ole airbag
sure takes a lot of heat regarding its questionable design and potentially harmful nature. The love / hate relationship with this very necessary device
has been going on for years, and TRW Automotive Safety Systems is hoping to quiet the protestors a bit with its latest creation. The next-generation asymmetric airbag / steering wheel system features a "non-rotating airbag" that stays put while the wheel around it moves to meet the driver's demands. By utilizing a circumferential gear to keep the airbag stationary, the mobilized unit provides "enhanced crash protection" while allowing automotive designers to add more "convenience and aesthetic features" (read: buttons, switches, and other gadget-controlling
togglers) to the steering wheel itself. Although TRW fails to point out just how much automakers will be forced to pay for its invention, it does note that it can be customized to the fit the feel, color, and style of any vehicle, and since the firm has already landed a contract with "a major European
vehicle manufacturer," we could see this non-turning technology go stateside anytime.