If you’ve ever struck a pedestrian with your car and thought “gosh, there should really be a cushion that keeps their heads from cracking my windshield” then you’re in luck! Check out Volvo’s newest creation: the Pedestrian Airbag.
I have an extraordinarily active imagination, which can be useful, but is typically a detriment as I can’t help but picture every sordid detail that my guy friends supply when talking about the bender they had with Javier, the hermaphrodite prostitute. It’s torturous, really. However, there are times when I absolutely love it, like when someone says the phrase “car with airbag for pedestrians”. Now, I may be a horrible person, but is anyone else picturing a teenager sneaking up to deflate your tires, only to be tossed through the air by a car doing a puffer fish interpretation? No? Well, you should, because it’s hilarious.
Sadly, the reality of the pedestrian airbag is not nearly as humorous. Instead Volvo is proposing an airbag that, upon impact, will cover parts of the windshield so pedestrians won’t crack their head open right in front of you.
There are a couple things that I would like point out. First, if you are driving fast enough that an airbag needs to be deployed in order to keep the pedestrian you just ran down alive, then I’m guessing that Newton’s first law of motion (The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force) will be at play, and I have a feeling that the only external force that will be stopping that body is the pavement, airbag or not.
Second, I wonder where exactly the point of collision would have to be in order for this airbag to be activated. If you were rear ended, would it deploy? Because if it did, you would have another problem:
Third, the airbag covers approximately one-third of the windshield, so if you were planning on safely pulling over to the shoulder after your accident, then chances are you’ll be taking out a couple extra pedestrians.
While this idea is still in the works, I believe it’s a waste of time and money. The inventors get 10 points for thought, but 2 for execution. Realistically, this airbag will do more harm than damage, both physically and financially. Any individual who has been struck by an airbag knows how forcefully they are deployed, so all Volvo is really doing is creating extra force with which to strike pedestrians.
Like a double tap, just in case. Also, we all know it’s going to be horribly expensive to replace the airbags, which will add up if you live in a city with tight parking. How many times do you think a car in San Francisco gets backed into per year? If each love tap results in a deployed airbag, then the driver is looking at not only a costly repair, but an inoperable car.