ZF Lifetec, a division known for its focus on passive safety systems, recently revealed an innovative steering wheel airbag design. The new design deploys from the top side of the wheel, providing more flexibility in steering wheel aesthetics and functionality.

The cutting-edge airbag is engineered to deploy from the top of the steering wheel during a crash. It extends below the upper rim directly toward the driver, ensuring safety remains uncompromised despite its innovative placement. This position allows for a more efficient use of space within the vehicle's cockpit.

Not only does the new design maintain crucial safety standards, but it also enhances the steering wheel's appearance. The wheel boasts a sleek, seamless gloss black panel with centrally located horn buttons. This uncluttered approach aligns with modern aesthetic preferences in car design.

Progressing beyond traditional designs, ZF's new model potentially supports future innovations such as incorporating force-sensitive controls directly into the steering panel or even adding a small screen where airbags are traditionally placed. Such features could significantly transform driver interaction with their vehicle.

Additionally, this breakthrough includes practical adaptations like hands-on detection technology embedded under the leather surface of the wheel. This system ensures that the vehicle can detect when the driver is actively engaging with the wheel, thereby enhancing overall vehicle safety protocols.

ZF has not yet confirmed whether this new airbag design has moved into production or when it might appear in consumer vehicles. Nonetheless, it opens exciting possibilities for car interior designers aiming to innovate less cumbersome and visually appealing steering wheels.

Source: ZF

Евгений Ушаков
Evgenii Ushakov
15 years driving