Toyota Motor Corporation is taking inflatable passenger protection in a new direction: the rear. Debuting in the upcoming iQ microcar, the Japanese automaker developed the first airbag to deploy over the rear window of an automobile.
Designed to protect the backseat passengers in the event of a rear-end collision, the airbag expands like a curtain across the back window, thus shielding the passengers from harm.
The feature helps protect passengers placed close to a rear hatch.; On the iQ (which squeezes four passengers into a car roughly the same size as a Smart ForTwo), the new airbag system nearly doubles the amount of head protection offered to rear passengers.
As part of an effort to increase vehicle safety, Toyota is making an effort to make side airbags and shield airbags standard on future models. Though the iQ isn’t destined for North America, we think a similar airbag system could find a place on many crossovers and SUVs with tightly-packaged third-row seats.