The ZF Group has revealed that external airbags could reduce the severity of accident injuries by as much as 40 percent. The car parts manufacturer also has a strategy for how the technology could be developed moving forward. While Montana drivers won't want to hold their breath for them, external airbags may eventually become standard in most vehicles.
ZF's external airbags go on the sides of a vehicle to provide an added crumple zone should a side collision occur. One challenge is to ensure that the airbags deploy a split second before the actual crash; after all, external airbags provide a more drastic solution than other systems, which tighten the seatbelt or adjust the suspension when they sense a collision.
ZF has stated that the challenge can be overcome with recent advances in lidar, radar, ultrasonics and camera technology. These advances will also ensure that the airbags won't go off when they are unnecessary.
The external airbags developed by ZF are just below 80 inches long and are approximately 21 inches high and 15 inches wide. Dimensions will vary, of course, depending on vehicle size. The weight is around 13 pounds. Despite the size, these airbags can inflate in 15 milliseconds, comparing favorably to the inflation times of steering wheel airbags.
Drivers will agree, though, that the most important thing is to not get in a car crash in the first place. Unfortunately, many people drive distracted, drowsy or impaired. If this or some other form of negligent driving is behind an accident, the party that was not to blame may be able to file a personal injury claim. This is where an attorney could come in and hire investigators to gather proof against the defendant.