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Airbags for pedestrians

Published:Sunday | November 2, 2014 | 12:00 AMChad Bryan
Contributed Standard interior airbags after deployment.
Contributed The Volvo S40, a predecessor of the vehicle on which the new airbag technology is being implemented.
Contributed Fiat, well-known for its compact cars, is also intent on pedestrian safety with new airbag technology.

Airbags have literally taken on a new dimension, as not only are they designed to protect

passengers within the confines of the vehicle, but are now being designed to safeguard pedestrians in the vehicle's vicinity.

German marquee automaker Mercedes-Benz has already begun toying with the idea of an external airbag system. However, this system would be sited under the vehicle instead of on its bonnet, as the Fiat Stilo and Volvo V40 are tending towards.

According to United Kingdom newspaper the Telegraph, when it is believed that a pedestrian is about to hit the car - or vice versa - the

U-shaped airbag on the bonnet inflates, resulting in extra protection for the pedestrian while not interfering with the driver's field of vision.

The technology works to protect the pedestrian by pushing up the bonnet beneath the windscreen, increasing the gap from the engine below so that the bonnet is better able to absorb some of the impact's energy.

The airbags also protect pedestrians from the vehicle's windscreen and the pillars on either side of it. Test results show that the bonnet airbag, which has been tried out on the Fiat Stilo, could cut pedestrian injuries in half.

The 2013 Volvo V40 automobile has also designed with a

U-shaped airbag to protect pedestrians in the event of an accident. The airbag uses seven sensors around the front of the car to detect the type of impact and then sends this information to the car's on-board computer for analysis and execution of the protective measure.