External airbags that pop up on the side of cars are the latest safety innovations being developed for the motoring industry.
The bags will deploy from the sill beneath doors in 20-30 milliseconds and protect the side of the vehicle from impact.
Designers at TRW Automotive are now working on radar and camera systems to detect the precise moment the airbag needs to be triggered.
They hope to have the bags fitted on premium German saloons before the end of the decade.
Vice-president of TRW, Norbert Kagerer, said: ‘Side crashes are still one of the highest accident rates, accounting for 37-40 per cent of accidents.’
The development project is being funded by the EU and it started three years ago in Spain.
The airbags being tested are 200cm long, 70cm high and between 15 to 20cm deep, with a capacity of 200 litres.
Last year, Volvo unveiled the world’s first external airbags on its V40.
Sensors located in the front bumper register contact between the car and a before the bonnet is blown upwards
This deflects the person away from the windscreen, while an airbag is simultaneously deployed to cushion them.
Meanwhile, TRW Automotive has also developed a life size acrylic car 'driven' by models to demonstrate how it is working towards semi-automated driving.
The company believes cars will be packed with more intelligent safety systems in the next decade that can anticipate road conditions.
The data from the sensors is used to make driver assist systems work in a bid to protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians in emergency situations.
Included in the acrylic car is an advanced radar that can be used to warn drivers of possible collisions and pedestrians, as well as spark mitigation braking and emergency braking.
A new 'active' seat belt system is fitted in the vehicle but in a real car that is forced to stop suddenly, it could help manage occupant energy during a crash.
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