Exterior, Pedestrian-Friendly Airbags Under Development for Cars
In America, we worry extensively about crash-test ratings for cars, which determine how likely automobile passengers are to survive a given impact, but in Europe that concern is extending to those outside the vehicle. Already, some European laws have mandated that new features designed specifically to protect pedestrians be outfitted in cars by 2012. One such feature, currently under development at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, England, is a set of air-bags that deploy on the outside of autos -- again, intended to help only those who might be run down.
It's unclear, exactly, what causes the airbags to trigger, but, when they do, a bag pops up from beneath the car's hood. It lifts the hood slightly and cushions it, while also providing some padding around the frame of the front windshield. Recently, a Fiat Stila (pictured above) was outfitted with the new system, tested, and found to reduce pedestrian injuries by close to 50-percent.
Right now, researchers reckon that this tech is still at least five years away from being ready for prime-time. As complicated as these features might be, we think a bigger task will be convincing drivers to pay extra for features that won't help them in a crash. [From: The Telegraph]