Moving Airbags to This Part of Cars Could Make Crashes Less Deadly

Today's passenger cars can come equipped with 20 airbags.

Car airbags may soon be popping up in a new area of your ride.
Getty Images

While everyone knows about the standard hiding spots for their car’s airbags — the steering wheel, dashboard, ceiling, etc. — a new location may provide the most safety yet.

Proposed by auto supplier ZF, some cars may soon feature “external side airbags,” Wired reported.

The bags would fire off as expected on impact — or before, thanks to external cameras — but instead of cushioning a human body from a potential blow, the fabric balloons would minimize the force of the impact from the outside. That effectively protecting the passengers on the inside.

The idea is still just that, a concept, but ZF is currently in talks with potential clients who might incorporate the design into their cars within the next two years, according to Wired.

ZF’s design is based on a study the supplier did on side-impact crashes that found reducing the force of one car colliding with another even just by an inch of space would “seriously improve” passengers’ chances of surviving and avoiding major injury.

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