External airbags may eventually become a reality on vehicles. However, it will take a while before car parts manufacturers perfect the technology. Drivers in Connecticut should know that these airbags could prove beneficial in the event of side-impact crashes. The ZF Group states that they can reduce the severity of occupant injuries by as much as 40 percent. ZF has even developed its own model of external airbags.
ZF's airbags deploy from the vehicle's sides to act as an additional crumple zone, absorbing the impact of a side collision. The system weighs 13 pounds and is 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide. Dimensions will vary, of course, based on the host vehicle's size. What may be most impressive is the inflation time, which is 15 milliseconds, comparable to that of steering wheel airbags.
Still, there are concerns that the predictive system may not detect crashes in time and that the airbags might deploy at unnecessary times. Technology deploying airbags is different from current predictive systems that tighten seatbelts or adjust suspensions in real time. ZF believes that rapid developments in lidar, radar, ultrasonics and camera technology will eventually put these concerns to rest. In any case, the benefits of external airbags are clear and may encourage other manufacturers to consider them.
Some might be wondering whether such airbags could be any benefit in a trucking accident. Whatever the answer may be, there is no question that truck accidents frequently result in catastrophic injuries that require lifelong medical care. The victim of such an accident will therefore want to find out if they have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer could negotiate for a settlement with the trucking company, litigating as a last resort.