Airbags likely to move outside

Airbags likely to move outside

TRW External Pre-crash AirbagThere are likely to be a number of airbags ‘popping up’ on the outside of vehicles, industry experts predict.

Volvo already has an external airbag on some Volvo V40 models for pedestrian protection, but now airbags are being shown on the outside of cars for the protection of those inside.

ZF TRW has showcased an external side airbag to provide protection in the case of t-bone-style accidents.

With a volume of 200 litres, the airbag was about twice the size of a conventional side curtain, and required two inflators to fill it. Because of time needed to fill it triggers before any collision.

ZF TRW says the bag could reduce the fore force of the collision by 30%.

There are hurdles yet to be crossed, such as how to protect the airbag on the outside of the vehicle from the environment, and foolproof deployment software.

“It’s definitely intriguing,” Steve Peterson, ZF TRW’s director of global systems engineering for occupant safety told Automotive News. “I think it could make sense — especially for a small car that sits low to the ground.”

“We did a fair amount of work with the automakers to see if we need a bag as big as the one we demonstrated,” Peterson said. “That work is still going on. It’s a big challenge.”

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