Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

ZF gathers safety data on external airbags

New safety data regarding the emerging technology of external airbags is out from the ZF Group, a car parts manufacturer. Michigan drivers should know that these airbags, in the event of a side impact crash, could lessen the severity of occupant injuries by as much as 40 percent. While many manufacturers are developing external airbags, it seems clear that they will not be perfected for a while yet.

ZF has developed an external airbag that goes on either side of a vehicle, inflates within 15 milliseconds and acts as an added crumple zone, absorbing the shock of the collision. This reaction time is comparable to that of a steering wheel airbag. It's all the more impressive considering the external airbag's bulk: 13 pounds in all, and 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide. Dimensions will vary, of course, with a vehicle's size.

Other predictive systems will protect occupants by tightening the seatbelt or adjusting the suspension. However, deploying airbags is a more drastic measure. That's why developers are working hard to overcome any misfire challenges.

ZF intends to take advantage of recent developments in ultrasonics and camera technology to address these hurdles. One challenge is for the sensors to recognize all the vital details of an impending crash. Another is for the airbags to be deployed only at necessary times.

Even when airbags and other safety features work, the victims of car accidents can still be left with medical bills, vehicle damage and a diminished earning capacity. That's why a crash victim may want to file a claim for compensation. A lawyer could handle this process and negotiate with the applicable insurance companies on a victim's behalf.

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