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ZF develops world's first external side airbag

ZF has developed the world's first pre-crash external side airbag system. Earlier this week, the company gave a live demonstration of the new technology in Memmingen, Germany.

According to ZF, the pre-crash safety system uses an external airbag that can deploy in milliseconds before a collision. It provides an additional lateral crumple zone that is claimed to reduce the severity of injury by up to 40%. In case of a T-bone type scenario, the system is claimed to reduce the penetration of the intruding vehicle by up to 30%.

The airbag is integrated into the vehicle's sensor systems and specially developed algorithms help the system decide whether or not to deploy the airbag. The airbag has a capacity of 280-400 litres depending on the vehicle. It expands upwards from the side sills to form a crumple zone between the A and C pillars.

 
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