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Four airbag innovations that will help keep you safe in future cars

Four airbag innovations that will help keep you safe in future cars

Airbags have been standard in many cars for overt twenty years and have saved countless lives in that time. For a technology that was originally patented over a hundred years ago by two British dentists, airbags have come a long way. The good news is that the rate of progress continues with the aim of improving safety even further.

Four new airbags have been showcased that will be ready for the changes coming to the automotive industry over the next 20 years.

Autonomous cars

The first new innovation is a dashboard mounted airbag from Mercedes-Benz. When full autonomy is normal, there may not be a steering wheel to mount the airbag. While that may be a few years away yet, Mercedes-Benz has already come up with a dashboard mounted airbag to protect drivers in the event of an accident while a passenger in an autonomous car.

Head-cradle airbag

Anyone who has been in a collision will know that while airbags are designed to protect, they can also hurt. A standard front airbag can twist the head or cause it to rebound off the bag at an angle. Honda have come up with a different shape with side bags and a fabric panel that should cradle the head more gently rather than causing it to bounce off the airbag in a collision.

T-bone bag

Automotive giant ZF have invented an external side airbag to help protect you during a side impact. The airbag inflates from outside the body to lessen the impact from a side collision. It relies on sensors that look for impending impacts and can react within milliseconds if it detects an unavoidable impact. The side airbag inflates to lessen the impact between the vehicles and hopefully, save even more injuries.

Rear passenger airbags

Mercedes-Benz has also turned their attention to rear passengers with developments in airbags. They were particularly concerned with children so have created tubular airbags that can be adapted to the shape and size of passengers. The tubes work in much the same way as standard airbags but can unfold in a wing shape to protect the body. As an added benefit, they can be configured for children or adapted depending on the posture of the rear passenger.

Honda’s airbag is ready for production and should be in many new models for the 2020 model year. Mercedes-Benz and ZF are finalizing theirs and are expected to announce production dates within the next twelve months.

We tend to take airbags for granted now, fully expecting them to get us out of trouble when we need them most. It’s reassuring to know that development is keeping pace with the rest of the automotive industry and as much attention are being given to the last line of defence as is given to accident prevention technology. Long may that continue!

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