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Airbags front and centre

GENERAL Motors is planning to introduce a world-first front centre airbag system by this time next year.

The system uses an airbag mounted in the inner side of the driver's seat that inflates in the event of a side impact and can prevent the front seat occupants from potentially life-threatening neck and head injuries.

A report by industry journal Go Auto published earlier this week suggested the new technology could be seen in the next-generation version of Holden's locally made Commodore large car but Holden director of external communications Emily Perry says the new airbag system has not yet been confirmed to be fitted to any Australian-produced vehicles.

''Holden is looking at the possibility of bringing the new centre airbag technology to future models in Australia but we don't have anything to announce,'' Perry says.

Development of the airbag technology was initiated in 2006 by Holden's innovation team and created in conjunction with the Monash University Accident Research Centre before being taken over by GM's head office in Detroit for further product integration.

The airbag system is set to be introduced to three GM SUV models in the US next year - the first application of the system to be seen in massed produced vehicles.

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