When a cyclist or pedestrian gets hit by a car, the impact is often fatal, but a new design developed by Dutch car company TNO proposes external car airbags to improve traffic safety for these vulnerable road users.
The innovation, developed under the project name ‘SaveCAP’ (safer vehicles for cyclists and pedestrians), makes use of one million euros allocated by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. They hope the windshield airbag will be a solution to improving safety as roughly a third of traffic victims in the Netherlands are pedestrians and cyclists.
The airbag covers the lower part of the windshield and the car is fitted with a forward-facing camera under the rear view mirror and an intelligent system that classifies all of the objects seen by the camera. When pedestrians or cyclists are seen approaching, the system switches to ‘alert’ mode. If the sensors in the car bumper subsequently detect contact, the airbag instantly unfolds.
Co.Exist reports that TNO showed off the airbag last year in a crash test with a dummy cyclist and found that it improved safety for a car traveling at 40km per hour, causing fewer brain and bone injuries nearly half the time. You can check out a demonstration of the airbag in the video below: