It started with the driver's side airbag, followed by the front passenger-side airbag. These days, we have these life-saving devices in just about every part of the interior. There are side airbags, side curtain airbags, and even an airbag for the driver's knees. There are even seatbelt airbags.
However, there's one area inside the vehicle that doesn't have dedicated airbags: the rear seats.
That's about to change. Mercedes-Benz has just stepped up their game in safety. For years, there have been several rear airbag concepts but none have come to fruition. But for the 2021 S-Class, rear passenger airbags will be available, making it the first series-production car to have it fitted. So how did the automaker design one for the rear occupants?
The rear passenger airbags are mounted behind the front seats, as one would expect. Its mounting point is of interest, as Mercedes-Benz put it where the map pockets are usually placed. As for the airbag itself, it's not like the ones you'll see for the front passengers. Instead, it's in the shape of a 'U', and it's presumably shaped that way to cradle the rear passenger's head and prevent side to side movement in an event of an impact. It also seems that the rear airbags are designed to protect the knees of the passengers as well.
At the moment, Mercedes-Benz isn't saying whether it will be standard in all variants of the next-generation S-Class. At the very least, it will be an option since the German automaker just announced this groundbreaking safety feature. It's also possible that it could be fitted to higher-spec models at no extra cost.
As it stands, the current model already has a substantial count of 9 airbags. There's dual front, dual front side, dual rear side, curtain, and driver's side knee airbags in the soon to be outgoing generation. If you add in those rear airbags in the all-new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz's flagship sedan will have the most in a series production car. With those included, we might be seeing as much as 11 airbags in the upcoming S-Class.
But we are wondering why Mercedes-Benz didn't put these at the back of the S-Class earlier. After all, this huge sedan is known for shuttling VIPs, heads of states, or consuls at the back. It's a bit ironic then that most of its airbags are at the front, since most of its owners might not even set foot in that part of the car. Still, it's about time that the back seats got more attention when it comes to safety, and Mercedes-Benz deserves a pat on the back for that.
Of course, it's a feature that we'd like to see in less expensive cars in the future. After all, it's in the interest of safety, and having more of these life-saving features can't be a bad thing, right?
Besides, a certain congressman said that we, the public, are the real VIPs.