Side impact in a crash is very harmful to the occupants in the cabin because there is no room for the crumple zone. ZF is working on a concept called ‘External Side Airbags System’ which offers protection in a side-impact collision. It is a pre-crash safety system which reduces occupant’s injury risk by 40%.
ZF is a very giant automotive parts supplier but most of the people do not know about ZF. Although, automobile enthusiasts know it because of the famous 8-speed automatic transmission which does its duty on many advanced cars. ZF manufactures much more than just transmissions and other components.
How does the ZF’s External Side Airbags System for safety actually work?
External side airbags system from ZF is the world’s first pre-crash external side airbags system. ZF’s external side airbags system is inflated and filled just before the vehicle is about to be T-boned. This ensures the reduction in side impact intervention by 30%. Also, the occupant’s injury due to the side impact collision reduces by 40%.
- For the identification of possible potential impact quickly and accurately, the system consists of connected cameras, radar and lidar
- Algorithms within the system software make multiple decisions such as “whether or not a collision is unavoidable?” and “if the deployment of the airbags is both possible and beneficial?”
- The software system makes these decisions within approximately 150 milliseconds – just the time a person takes to blink
- The system ignites the inflators to fill the airbag if the decisions are all affirmative
- The airbags spread between the A and C pillars with the capacity between 280L to 400L depending upon the size of the vehicle and covers the door area to provide additional lateral crumple zone
Results with the deployment of the external side airbags can reduce the amount of the impact forces transferring to the occupants significantly. Also, the damage to the car will be lesser.
It seems that the cost of purchasing and repairing the car equipped with the external side airbags will cost higher. However, if it potentially saves the occupants from the injury, it is worth every penny!