Arizona residents who keep up with advances in vehicle safety technology may have heard about manufacturers working on external airbags. The ZF Group has come out with reassuring safety data as well as a strategy for implementing such technology. As with self-driving cars, it will take a while for ZF and other manufacturers to perfect the technology; after that, it will take longer for the airbags to become standard.
External airbags have been estimated to reduce the severity of occupant injuries by as much as 40 percent, so there is good reason for their production to move forward. ZF's external airbag models go on the sides of a car and act as an extra crumple zone, absorbing the impact in a side collision.
The airbag is approximately 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide, and it weighs about 13 pounds. Despite its greater size, its inflation time is impressively close to that of the steering wheel airbag, which is 15 milliseconds. ZF states that advances in camera technology will make the airbag possible.
With cameras and sensors, the vehicle can detect when a crash is about to occur and deploy the airbags a split second beforehand. One challenge is to keep them from deploying unnecessarily since they provide a more drastic solution than, say, a seatbelt tightening or suspension adjustments.
Drivers should keep in mind that safety features are not meant to cause complacency behind the wheel. Negligence is behind most motor vehicle accidents, but those who are the victims of negligent driving may be able to receive damages. A crash victim can consult with a personal injury attorney and see if they have a valid case. If they do, the lawyer could hire experts to gather proof of negligence and negotiate for a fair settlement.