We are all familiar with the fact that modern cars have airbags inside them to protect the occupants in the event of an accident. In the future, the airbags might also be fitted to the outside of the car in an effort to help protect pedestrians and add another layer of protection for occupants inside the vehicle as well. In Europe, external airbags are being tested that are designed to protect pedestrians in the event of a head on collision.
One vehicle, the Volvo V40 has an airbag that is stored under the hood and deploys in a collision to cover the A-pillars and windshield. A company called ZF TRW is showing off an external side airbag that protect cars that are involved in side collisions. This airbag is stored in the frame rails under the doors of the car.
That external airbag is about twice as large as a normal side curtain airbag and required a pair of inflators to fill it up. The airbag also takes extra time to inflate and was designed to deploy right before a collision. Researchers claim this airbag was able to reduce the force of a side collision by 30%.