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International Auto Supplier Looking to Use External Airbags on Future Vehicles

December 23, 2018

UNITED STATES – According to an online news report from, an international auto supplier is looking to use external airbags on future vehicles.*

German supplier ZF has developed airbags for the outside of vehicles that could be in production in about two years. During the recent Airbag 2018 Symposium in Germany, the company showcased these externals airbags, which are rather similar to the airbags currently on the inside of cars. 

The external airbags developed by ZF are much larger than standard interior airbags – about two or three times the size – and require multiple inflators. The airbags are designed for the sides of cars and would deploy in the event of side-impact collisions. ZF found during the process of testing the airbags that they create an added layer of safety for vehicle occupants and reduced injury severity from crashes by 40 percent. 

The deployment is triggered by computers, sensors, cameras, and lidar on the outside of a vehicle. Communicating together, the systems recognize when a crash is imminent and deploy the external airbags. Anything crashing into the vehicle will then hit the airbags first, reducing impact on the vehicle itself.

Effectiveness will depend greatly on the systems’ ability to understand crash threats correctly. If the airbag systems are too relaxed, they will not deploy in a crash and will provide no benefit to occupants of the vehicle. But if the systems are too sensitive, the airbags might deploy when someone parks in a tight space. 

ZF says it is confident in its technology, and that the systems will know the difference between non-threatening objects and oncoming crashes and will deploy the bags in 100 milliseconds when a crash is detected. 

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Category: Auto Accidents

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