Volvo has been working on new pedestrian airbag technology, to lower the rate of driver and pedestrian accidents. “According to Volvo’s research, 25-percent of traffic fatalities in China are pedestrians. While the numbers are lower for Europe (14-percent) and the United States (12-percent), they’re still significant” (Motor Authority). Basically, Volvo’s concept is to deploy airbags around the front of the car to lessen the chance of a pedestrian being injured.
Volvo has developed advanced sensors into the front of their bumpers that are able to recognize the shape of a human-like leg form. When the car senses that there is a human in front of the car, a chain of events occurs within hundredths of a second. The airbag that deploys is designed to do two things. 1) raise the hood of the car (by nearly four inches) to lessen the impact of a human body on the hood; when the hood is raised, there is more distance between the human and the hard parts that are underneath the hood like the engine. 2) Airbags are deployed around the bottom of the windshield/windshield wipers, and across the A-pillars of the windshield. These features are supposed to lessen the impact should a pedestrian walk in front of a car, the driver not see the pedestrian, etc. The system is supposed to be able to function between the speeds of [roughly] 12.5 to 31 miles per hour.
I think that the pedestrian airbag is a great concept, but I have a few concerns. Would the pedestrian airbag deploy if some sort of animal ran out in front of your car? (Like a deer, a coyote, etc.) I have also read a few articles where the author was expressing concern that this technology would cause drivers to be even more careless in their driving, simply because they know that they have this pedestrian airbag technology, and the risk of serious injury is minimal. I also feel that the external airbags should not just be for pedestrians, but should also be used in a regular collision to possibly prevent the driver from going through the windshield.
Here is a link of a video to see how the pedestrian airbags are deployed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2Aw4eZoijk