External Airbags Protect Passengers Inside the VehicleJune 19, 2019
Airbags have been a safety feature in most cars for years and are very effective at protecting front-seat passengers from serious injuries. Automotive supplier ZF has developed an external version of the airbag, which is designed to soften a side-impact crash. The airbag, which resembles a pontoon attached to the side of the car, uses a system of cameras, radar, and lidar to signal the airbag to deploy if a side-impact crash is imminent. According to ZF, the external airbag can reduce the severity of passenger injuries by up to 40 percent.
Unlike the traditional airbag, external airbags must be able to deploy prior to impact to be effective. Sensors on the car will send a signal to the airbag if the computer determines that a side-impact crash is unavoidable. Once the message is sent, the airbag is deployed from the vehicle’s side sill and inflates the side airbag in no more than 100 milliseconds. In addition to softening the force of impact, the external airbags also disperse the force of impact through the airbag and along the length of the vehicle’s side exterior.
Technology Behind External Airbags
For the external airbags to deploy, they are connected to a system of sensors that each have a specific function, including the following:
- Radar Sensors: Measure the distance and cannot be tricked by lighting or weather conditions.
- Cameras: Effective at recognizing objects and differentiating between a larger, heavier motorcycle and a bicycle. They are also more likely to see an oncoming car sooner because they have a wider field of vision.
- Lidar Sensors: Send light waves towards an oncoming vehicle, and measure how the waves are reflected. Lidar sensors create a three-dimensional image of what they see. They must be fast and accurate to detect changes in an oncoming vehicle’s direction in the moment before impact.
Unfortunately, this life-saving technology cannot be retrofitted into any vehicle. The vehicle must be designed to incorporate the airbag module, as well as the inflators, sensors, and side sill designs. However, external airbags could complement some of the existing safety technology, including collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking systems. There is a significant cost associated with this technology, and the industry is still getting used to the recent surge of safety technology.
No automakers have placed contracts for ZF’s side airbags yet, although several have expressed interest in the technology. Considering the potentially serious nature of side-impact accidents, side airbags can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of passenger injuries.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect Victims of Side-Impact Car Accidents
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a side-impact car accident, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We understand how serious these accidents can be and we will take every step necessary to determine who is responsible for your injuries. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the claims process and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.