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Cooley On Cars
Car Tech 101: External airbagsDo airbags belong on the outside of your car? Brian Cooley looks at prototype technology that could change how airbags are deployed in the future.
Airbags abound in modern cars. They used to just be in the steering wheel. Then they moved across the dash, into the sides of seats, between the seats, behind the seats Along the roof and even the seat belts. But all of those are in the car what about outside? Here's an update. ZFTRW has just unveiled a new prototype That lives on the outside of the car, to blunt the impact of a t-bone collision. It seems to be the first use of airbags ever between cars. The FTRW calculates it could reduce the force of a collision by about 30%. The tricky part would be sensing. A bag this big can't wait until impact to expand, like other airbags do. It would need a head start at inflation. So it needs to fire just before the impact, yet without false alarms that would be expensive. [MUSIC] Meanwhile, Volvo continues to offer its under-hood airbag. It pops up the hood in a pedestrian impact to cushion the impact of that pedestrian's skull with the hard top of the engine bag. But some speculate the fact that Volvo only offers this tech on one non US car, and has been emphasizing autonomous crash avoidance. Suggest it may sunset to technology. In general, costly to replace one time use airbags have played the big part on the rise of totalled cars. From 9% of cars hat came in from collision repairs in 2000 to over 14% totalled in 2013. A big external airbag would probably have to prove it reduces much more than it Own cost in collision repair appraisals. More car tech demystified right now at CNETOnCars.com. Click on car tech 101. [MUSIC]