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External Airbags Could be Heading to Future Cars
Airbag manufacturers are working on a new generation of airbags that are designed to deploy outside a vehicle in the event of an accident. These aren’t made to protect the car’s body, but rather soften the blow to occupants inside the cabin. ZF TRW recently showcased an external side-airbag that would protect a car if it was T-boned by another vehicle. After a series of crash tests the company found that this innovative airbag could reduce the force of a side collision by 30 percent, which is huge.
External airbags have already passed their initial tests in Europe, where they are used to protect pedestrians in head-on collisions. Volvo, for example, has equipped the V40 with an airbag that is mounted underneath the hood. It deploys in a collision with a pedestrian to cushion the A-pillars and bottom half of the windshield. In addition, the rear of the hood is lifted when the airbag is deployed to further help protect the pedestrian.
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