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ZF external airbags may keep occupants safer in side collision

The ZF Group has come up with some definite data about the benefits of external airbags; namely, that they can reduce the severity of occupant injuries by as much as 40 percent. Florida residents should know that while external airbags, like self-driving cars, are still a long way from becoming reality, ZF has a strategy that could soon yield real results.

ZF has designed external airbags that deploy from the side of a vehicle, adding to the crumple zone and absorbing some of the impact of a side collision. The challenge, of course, is to get a vehicle to determine when a crash will occur and then deploy the airbags a split second before.

One external airbag model is approximately 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide. It weighs about 13 pounds. Despite its size, it can inflate the airbags in 15 milliseconds, which is around the same time it takes for a steering wheel airbag to inflate.

Some vehicles already have crash predictive systems, which can cause the seat belts to tighten or adjust the suspension based on the data it receives through its cameras and sensors. Since external airbags can be more drastic, however, there is a greater concern about seeing them deploy when they are not needed.

Side collisions often result in serious injuries, and without any advanced safety features to mitigate them, victims may be left with permanent conditions requiring lifelong medical care. However, compensation may be garnered through a personal injury claim. Filing a claim is a complicated process, so victims may want legal representation. After a thorough evaluation, a lawyer could proceed to build up a case.

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