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.
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 ofbefore 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.