Airbags with a Difference

Airbags with a Difference

April 18, 2016 Written by Al
Airbags with a Difference
Almost all cars have them. Airbags. They have been put everywhere in the past few years – both in the front and in the back of the car.  They have been put lower down in the dashboard, higher up, locked in with seatbelts, activated by to car alarms, and even put in door panels. Everything that can be done with airbags has been done. Hasn’t it?
 
Well – no. Not really. Not according to Mercedes at least.
 
Mercedes are currently designing a brand new kind of airbag that could revolutionise airbags forever. Currently an experiment, they have designed an airbag that will deploy from underneath the car, helping vehicles slow down when it is obvious that a crash is imminent.
 
This new innovation, like so many in the auto industry at the moment, has been made possible through the improvement of sensors at the front and rear of the car. When the sensors note that there is no other way of avoiding a collision they activate the lower airbag that, thanks to a friction coating, forces the car to slow down. It is an airbag that is designed to protect both the passenger and the car as it can lift the car up to eight centimetres in the air. This is done to counteract the effects of dipping when brakes are applied at high speed, as well as softens the blow to the front of the car.  These are not giant airbags designed to turn the car into a hovercraft, but rather positioned around the front axle to provide as much support for the driver as possible.
 
Although this technology is a few years away from completion it may be installed in new Mercedes models in the future. This all depends on two things. The first is the efficiency of self-drive and pilot assist technology that, if all goes to plan, will be able to also be used to sense danger and get out of trouble long before the airbag needs to be deployed. The other is whether sensor technology will progress enough to make this external airbag a reality.
 
Currently Mercedes are looking at including the external airbag in the S-Class ESV (Experimental Safety Vehicle), however, whether they do or not is beside the point as the external airbag represents so much more.  What it represents is a trend of moving towards car safety for consumers. Rather than manufacturers being focused on following each other, as they did so much in the past, they are now focused on innovation, creation, and creative strategising. Each manufacturer has their own way of improving the driving experience and making it safer for all those on the road. The future is bright. The future is innovative. The future is diverse. The future is now. 

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