ZF develops an external airbag system for safety

Written by Nizam Shaikh

German Auto Component maker ZF has designed an external airbag to safeguard car occupants from side impact collisions. According to research, nearly 700 deaths occur per year as a result of side impact collisions. The new external airbag system has been developed to reduce this fatality number and protect occupant form injuries.

In the event of a collision, the new system uses an external side airbag system which deploys milliseconds before a crash. The system uses sensors that have been routed all around the vehicle and the bags provide an extra cushioning which helps save the occupants inside the car. The company claims that the injury severity of the passengers can be reduced to up to 40%. This system can also help reduce vehicle penetration by 30%.

The ZF systems sensors have algorithms that can determine when to deploy the airbags. The system takes approximately 150 milliseconds to detect and deploy the airbag system before the collision takes place. The greatest hurdle is to recognize an inevitable collision. ZF has given a live demonstration of the system in action and has become the first pre-crash occupant safety system in the world.

The system uses Radar, Lidar and connected cameras to make this possible. The airbag has a capacity of 280 to 400 litres which is more than 5 to 8 times the volume of a driver airbag. The airbag is deployed from the door sill to the door area between the A and C pillar. It inflates upwards to form the additional crumple zone.

The safety technology and sensors can also warn the passengers and can give them a warning a few seconds before the crash by using the ACR8 (Active Control Retractor), which helps secure them in a safe position before the collision.