The Future of Cars #4: External Airbags

The Future of Cars #4: External Airbags

From our previous three parts in our series of ‘The Future of Cars’, we are now imagining ourselves being driven around in our own cars which will communicate with our surroundings whilst we kick back and peruse the internet using our windscreens.

Once this technology begins to be implemented we will be at the mercy of computers working together and relying on them to transport us safely to our destinations. With such new technological advances, something is bound to go wrong, so aside from generic safety devices which are already in place, what else can be implemented by manufacturers to provide that extra layer of protection in the event that an accident should happen?

External airbags are being designed which will deploy just before the contact point during an accident, rather than current airbag systems placed inside the car, which are set off by the contact itself. Sensors will detect when an accident is just about to happen and deploy to either cushion the impact, slow down the car or position the car in preparation to minimize the harm to the car’s occupants and the vehicle or pedestrian/s the car could collide with.

Volvo, SEAT and Mercedes have been mentioned across the internet for being the companies that have been researching these external airbags for the past few years. There have been images of Mercedes showing airbags (called braking bags) that deploy from underneath the front of the car which contact the ground in order to aid braking. They are strengthened with aluminium and rubber or carbon fibre. This method will be the first time manufacturers have considered using an airbag in a different way. There is also an image of a Volvo deploying an airbag from the line in-between the bonnet and windscreen which looks to raise the rear of the bonnet and cushion the windscreen for extra pedestrian safety. Mercedes say that their goal is to eventually reach a ‘no accidents’ road environment. External airbags aren’t exactly preventing the accidents in the first place; however they are minimizing injuries when they happen.

What do you think of this as a development in the motoring industry? Let us know in the comments!

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