Driver and passenger airbags are designed to protect against head and chest injuries in the case of a frontal collision. Their full effect is obtained only in combination with the seat belt.
The driver airbag is integrated in the steering wheel’s impact absorber. The front passenger airbag is located in front of the seat in the cladding of the dashboard. If triggered, the cladding breaks along seams intended for this purpose.
If the electronic triggering device’s sensors detect a crash above a certain collision speed, they ignite the airbag's pyrotechnic gas generator. The gas suddenly releases to fill the air cushion before the body strikes it.
When the head and upper body collide with the airbag, it must not form a solid obstacle. Instead, the body forces out the gas through outlets in the air cushion. This is what permits the effect of a soft landing.
The full-size design of the driver airbag holds up to 60 or 65 litres of gas. The passenger airbag has a volume of up to 150 litres, depending on the size of the car. The passenger airbag can also often be deactivated by using the ignition key in a key-operated switch. This lets you safely place a rear-facing child seat in the front seat, for example.
A control system continuously monitors the proper functioning of the airbag systems in all SEAT models.