TNO a Dutch Design company have begun work on a brand new airbag, no it is not going to be bigger and better and hold your cup of tea, as it is not going to be on the inside of a car at all. These airbags are external and the point of them is to try and save lives of pedestrians and cyclists who unfortunately happen to be involved in a collision.
Car manufacturers try constantly to improve the safety of vehicles for their customers, though only over the last couple of years have people started to consider the safety of cyclists and pedestrians who may be involved in an accident. Euro NCAP actually only made safety of pedestrians a necessary part of their annual tests in 2009.
New airbags set to protect cyclists and pedestrians
Though in the Netherlands, bikes are absolutely everywhere and around 70 pedestrians and 200 cyclists are killed annually after being involved in an accident with a car. If a vehicle is travelling at speeds above 25 miles per hour, which is the average speed recorded for accidents in the Netherlands, then an incident with a cyclist usually ends in a fatality. Helmets are actually said not to help much at all if a cyclist is hit on impacts of 12 miles per hour or higher.
TNO, received a grant from the Government and began to look at all of the details of a crash involving a bike and a car, especially at the points of impact at the front of the vehicle. They came to the conclusion that automatically braking and external airbags being positioned at the bottom of the windshield definitely would reduce the sheer severity of a crash, rather dramatically.
Using information that will be concluded from a camera that will be put onto the rear-view mirror, the system will prep for any collision and if a vehicle happens to strike a cyclist then the airbag will inflate, henceforth cushioning the impact on the rider as they hit the windshield. The camera’s diagnosis which will initiate the vehicle to automatically break and the airbag to deploy is the result of a year’s worth of research and testing driving through busy Dutch cities in a car equipped with a camera. The system has been set up to kick in when it calculates the high risk of a collision.
There is already a similar piece of technology in the brand new Volvo V40. The pedestrian airbags have been produced to protect anyone travelling on foot from being hurt on collision at speeds between 12 miles per hour and 31 miles per hour.