The ZF Group is currently developing external airbags that go on the sides of a vehicle and protect occupants in the event of a side collision. Minnesota drivers who stay up to date on emerging car safety technology should know that these airbags could eventually become standard in most vehicles. However, the tech is still several years away from being perfected.
ZF is clear about the safety benefits, stating that external airbags could reduce an occupant's injury severity by up to 40 percent. This works by providing an additional crumple zone and absorbing some of the shock of a crash. There are concerns about the airbags not deploying in time or deploying when it is unneeded. Predictive systems with airbags are naturally more drastic than the current ones that adjust the suspension or tighten seatbelts.
To address these challenges, ZF will be looking to the rapid developments in lidar, radar, ultrasonics and camera technology. It hopes to create sensors that recognize all the vital details of an impending crash and react accordingly.
So far, the manufacturer has been able to create external airbags that inflate in 15 milliseconds: an impressive reaction time that puts it on the same footing as steering wheel airbags. The dimensions of the airbag system are approximately 80 by 15 by 21 inches. The weight is 13 pounds.
Even if an accident victim has their injury severity reduced by safety features, they may still be left with medical expenses, lost income and other losses that their own insurance company will not compensate them for. This is where it's important to consult with an attorney experienced in auto accident law. Even if the victim was partially at fault, they could still be awarded damages.