For years, drivers and passengers have relied on airbags to assure their safety on the road. However, pedestrians are far more at stake in terms of accidents brought by negligent people behind-the-wheel. Taking this into consideration, Mercedes-Benz conceptualized a feature that is designed for innocent bystanders and commuters – external airbags.
The patent was filed in July 2015 and since then, the German automaker has been working on improving the concept toward its production version. It was just this month when the patent was published.
If you think that the brand is a bit late for coming up with this, the external airbag was not the first feature Mercedes-Benz has designed for commuters and bystanders on the street. Previous innovation from the company includes a pop-up hood concept that reduces the amount of impact a vehicle could cause on pedestrians in front-end collision scenarios.
So, what is a pedestrian airbag? Basically, it's an airbag that is placed outside the car. These airbags are concealed inside the A-pillar and are triggered by sensors on the front end of the car. In a car-on-pedestrian accident, these sensors deploy both the airbags and the pop-up hood, saving the person from reaching the windshield or any hard components of the car.
If you worry too much that the airbag compartment will spoil the exterior design of the car, you can calm down now. The the airbags are kept hidden inside a fabric tube that is well fitted inside the A-pillars, like as if they were never there. It is unnoticeable from in and out of the car to spare you the good glory of a Mercedes aesthetic quality.
Currently, Mercedes-Benz is still developing the pedestrian airbag application. When it will become available on its units has not yet been disclosed as of writing.