Swedish carmaker Volvo has unveiled the world’s first car with external airbags to ensure the safety of pedestrians and protect them from serious head and neck injuries. The airbag is located under the hood and inflates at the base of the windshield while enabling the driver to see ahead. The new Volvo V40 hatchback goes on sale in Australia today.
In addition to the external airbag mechanism, the new car—which was recently unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland—also features a pedestrian detection system. Once a pedestrian steps in front of the vehicle, the car’s brakes apply automatically if the driver doesn’t react fast enough. If the sensors detect an imminent collision with a pedestrian while driving at high speed, the airbag pops-up and inflates in a U-shape.
Numbers state that there has been a decrease in pedestrian deaths in Australia, but these still account for 13 percent of all traffic related fatalities. According to Volvo, nearly 12 percent of all road accident deaths in the US are still pedestrian related.
“It’s fantastic technology and every car should have it,” said Harold Scruby, road safety campaigner and the chairman of the Pedestrian Council Of Australia. She pointed out the lack of federal regulations when it comes to pedestrian protection, which is partially to blame for a small number of cars like Volvo V40 on the streets.