A large chunk of most auto manufactures funding has been going to safety improvements over the past several years. With improvements like side curtain airbags and collision sensing equipment, vehicles are getting safer every year. Toyota has made another advance in the safety department with the first airbag that will protect the back seat passengers from each other.
How necessary is this? If you think about it in terms of possible damage, one person hitting their head on the interior of the vehicle is bad enough. This problem was solved with side impact airbags. Now, what happens when the individuals sitting in the back collide with each other: Twice the damage and twice the risk of a long term injury. This is also ruling out anything that isn't bolted down that may go flying from one side of the vehicle to the other.
The airbag will deploy from a roof mounted console located directly between the two rear occupants. There will most likely be some kind of sensing mechanism that will not allow the airbag to deploy if someone is sitting in the center of the rear seat.
According to Toyota, the technology will be making its debut this year, but has not released where and when. From there, it will probably become more prevalent throughout their vehicle lineup.Autoweek
Just in case the center airbag for the rear seats didn't strike your fancy, Toyota has developed two new pieces of safety technology that will likely be arriving in the states for the upcoming Lexus model years.