Ford's new airbag design is called the bow tie, but don't tell GM that

The Blue Oval has filed a patent application for a new type of driver's airbag that will help in offset collisions.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

The bow-tie airbag gets its name from the two wing-like airbags that fire from the sides of the vehicle's steering column and supplement the central steering wheel-mounted bag.


Airbags meant to protect the driver of a vehicle have been standard equipment in vehicles for ages, and during that time, they've saved countless lives. But they've mostly relied on a standard design and haven't necessarily changed all that much down the years.

That seems to be changing though -- Honda recently unveiled a new airbag design, and now appears to be turning up to the party with an application for a patent filed on Aug. 22 on something that it's calling the bow-tie airbag.

If you read "bow-tie airbag" and thought that the folks over at the General probably don't love that, we'd bet you're right, but the name is more descriptive than you might think. Based on drawings in the submitted application, the bow-tie airbag supplements the steering wheel hub-mounted bag by sending two airbags out of either side of the steering column, both of which are tethered together.

These bags, when viewed head-on look like a bow tie, hence the name. But they're designed to catch the driver's head in the event of a side impact or offset crash before it can glance off of the central airbag and into either the vehicle's A-pillar or the dashboard, or rotate in a way that causes further injury.

It's a pretty cool-looking system, and the idea seems sound, especially when paired with the now nearly ubiquitous side curtain airbags. Of course, it's important to point out that just because a manufacturer applies for a patent on a design, it doesn't mean it'll see production. Though, in this instance, we hope that's not the case.

Watch this: Ride in the back seat at your own risk

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