With autonomous technology being developed so quickly, auto companies have begun working on the next step in driverless development, passenger safety. German automotive supplier ZF has begun giving this some thought and has come up with a new kind of airbag, one that could define safety features in autonomous vehicles.
As can be seen in the photo, the airbag is external and attached to the sides of seats. It was originally intended for all contemporary cars, but with the possibility of moving seats and the lack of a steering wheel airbag for extra support in future autonomous cars, this innovation could offer a great solution to ensuring passenger safety. It was originally designed to move around a person's head when deployed to keep it from knocking against things during a crash, but is now being developed to wrap around a person's entire body.
The design is meant to hold a person in place in the case of being jerked around during a crash and could provide extra security where it might be lacking with the disappearance of center console support. The airbags will operate on the same principle system that existing airbags do, with a sensor to deploy the bag on impact.
Of the airbags, the company says:
Such seat-integrated systems could be valuable in addressing advanced interior concepts for future vehicles and new mobility solutions."
While one of the main goals of autonomous development is to figure out a way to avoid car crashes, it is still important that manufacturers factor in the possibility of a collision. ZF is helping to prepare for an autonomous future that many will likely feel uncertain about when it comes to their safety.