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Are Exterior Airbags the Future of Bike/Ped Safety?
Although the Netherlands remains one of the safest countries in the world, pedestrians and cyclists make up about a third of all traffic fatalities. With that in mind, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment gave the research organization TNO 1 million euros to develop technology to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists by outfitting automobiles with exterior airbags, reports Stone.
"The exterior airbags cover the lower portion of the windshield, creating a softer landing for a human skull flying through the air at 25 miles per hour than, say, a pane of glass. A camera positioned beneath the rear-view mirror can determine if the car is approaching any pedestrians or cyclists, and if sensors in the car’s bumper detect contact--here comes the airbag."
Not to be outdone, northern neighbors in Sweden have "beat the Dutch company to the chase." As Stone notes, "[l]ast year, the Swedish carmaker [Volvo] released a V40 with the world’s first pedestrian airbag. Check out that car’s new technology here."