Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

External Airbag Designed to Protect Pedestrians

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the safe-at-any-speed dept.

Transportation 253

Thanks to researchers at Cranfield University, you don't have to feel bad when you plow into a group of pedestrians who are crossing the street too slowly. They have designed an external airbag that mounts to your hood at the base of the windshield. Research shows that this is the area where a pedestrian's head is most likely to hit in an accident. "Test results indicate that the system works extremely well. When fitted to a demonstrator vehicle not originally designed with pedestrian protection in mind, the results were well inside all current legal criteria for pedestrian protection currently in force in Europe," Roger Hardy of the university's Cranfield Impact Centre said.

cancel ×

253 comments

Ohhh! (4, Funny)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851021)

I really want to bounce off a car with this!

Re:Ohhh! (-1, Offtopic)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851229)

Stupid. Pointless. Craptastic post are all perfectly good comments for this post.

But to be modded redundant in the first post is of the utmost Mod stupidity.

Seriously though. Shouldn't I at least get an achievement for this?

Re:Ohhh! (2)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851417)

Not much of an achievement but I for one tip my hat to you.
And my sig may be apropos.

Re:Ohhh! (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852215)

If it uses sensors so the airbags can start being deployed prior to impact, why not add some bags to the front bumper. This may not eliminate crippling leg injures, but it might lessen them...

Re:Ohhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27852289)

lol

Re:Ohhh! (2, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851445)

> to be modded redundant in the first post is of the utmost Mod stupidity.
Once upon a time Slashdot had a system where we could moderate the moderations - "metamod" they called it. It'd be nice if that came back.

Re:Ohhh! (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851527)

One point of advice. Next time, ensure you have built up some karma before going for a first post. You are now in the dreaded zero point posting land and are doomed to a life of slashdot obscurity.

Re:Ohhh! (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851637)

No. The redundant is what got me to 0. My karma is pretty good. Not perfect, but who the hell wants all their comments to be respected. :)

Ok ? (0, Flamebait)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851035)

Thats silly. More often people get drug under an SUV

Re:Ok ? (3, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851109)

Just put a cowcatcher on SUVs.

Re:Ok ? (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851333)

Just put a cowcatcher on SUVs.

Good idea. We need them for Idaho stops anyway.

Re:Ok ? (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851337)

I thought they already had them, except they refer to them as "brush guards".

Re:Ok ? (3, Informative)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851111)

Note that this story is coming out of the UK, not the US. The majority of the car-driving world drives smaller vehicles.

Re:Ok ? (4, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851163)

The problem is, impacts are not predictable.

The "most likely spot" to hit, is actually depending on the following factors:
- Speed of collision
- Braking/coasting/accelerating (braking typically causes a vehicle's nose to dip, accelerating causes it to rise)
- Height of the pedestrian in relation to the height of the vehicle's front bumper/grille.
- Angle of collision (pedestrian motion will be different if hit head-on, as opposed to someone trying to whip around a right-hand turn and blindsiding someone who's crossing properly; angle also changes if you're not at a right-angle intersection)

The other problem is, does this truly cushion the blow, taking the energy into the crashbag and causing the pedestrian to be more likely to remain on the stopped vehicle, or is it more elastic, imparting acceleration back into the poor pedestrian in time for them to slide off the car - now accelerated to a good 15-20mph or higher - and then hit their head on the cement?

 

Re:Ok ? (2, Funny)

Ice Wewe (936718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851785)

The other problem is, does this truly cushion the blow, taking the energy into the crashbag and causing the pedestrian to be more likely to remain on the stopped vehicle, or is it more elastic, imparting acceleration back into the poor pedestrian in time for them to slide off the car

I'd be interested in hearing what the force threshold for such a device is. Right now I see this as yet another expensive thing to replace when you accidentally bump the front of your car while moving your trash can, a football hitting the front of your car [totalprosports.com] , etc.

Realistically, I think that if they set it high enough so that an unintentional bump won't set it off, if you, as a pedestrian, get hit by said car, you're pretty much done for anyway.

Re:Ok ? (0, Flamebait)

WARM3CH (662028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851653)

<quote>Thats silly. More often people get drug under an SUV</quote>
Maybe the stupid thing here is the number of people driving SUVs and trucks in US?

Cowcatchers (5, Funny)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851049)

What we really need are cowcatchers, like on trains, so that the pedestrians don't get stuck under the wheels and jam them. :-)

Re:Cowcatchers (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851153)

Man, do you know what a pain it is to clean pedestrian off the grille of your car?!?

Re:Cowcatchers (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851233)

That's the beauty of the cowcatcher, it deflect the obstruction to the side and into someone else's grille. Even then you can just let the birds pick the meaty bits out and hose down later.

Speed Racer Mach 5 Rotating Saws . . . (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851313)

. . . button "C" on the cartoon Speed Racer's original Mach 5 activated rotating saws at the front, that were able to clear the way of *anything*.

We might need to adjust the regulations for pedestrian protection for this to be offered as standard equipment.

Re:Cowcatchers (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851421)

I wish cars had deercatchers as an option. They'd probably work just as well on pedestrians (though the law may not like any aftermarket automatic cleaning and butchering options you add).

My old Crown Vic wouldn't have needed one but my current vehicle isn't as sturdily built. I don't think I'd get away with $30 in used parts with this car after smacking one.

Re:Cowcatchers (1)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851485)

We don't adapt nearly enough technology from old railway times to our modern cars.
I'd like to see some sort of modern adaptation of the infamous hobo catcher.
Back in the 30's hobos riding on the undercarrages of trains became such a problem that in some cases trains had trouble getting up hills. So the railway companies started laying down spring loaded spikes on train tracks.
Sure we don't have the problem of hobos riding the bottom of peoples cars *yet*. Just wait till the economy gets worse.

Re:Cowcatchers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851733)

What we really need are cowcatchers, like on trains, so that the pedestrians don't get stuck under the wheels and jam them. :-)

Nah. Probably best to put a spike in the center of the steering wheel.

Think how much safer people would drive with that safety feature.

I'm not kidding. I don't think any safety features since the advent of the 3rd brake light have actually done any statistical difference in automobiles. Actually, I believe things like antilock brakes and traction control increase accidents because people are not aware of the capabilities of their car.

Remember, its human error that accounts for roughly 100% of accidents. Not hardware failure. So, go ahead and keep making those cars more "safe".

Re:Cowcatchers (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851983)

Remember, its human error that accounts for roughly 100% of accidents. Not hardware failure. So, go ahead and keep making those cars more "safe".

I think you need to take another look at the statistics. It's entirely possible for failed brakes or a busted tie-rod end to cause an accident.

Re:Cowcatchers (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852049)

Nah. Probably best to put a spike in the center of the steering wheel.

Think how much safer people would drive with that safety feature.

Car interiors designed like iron maidens? I'm going to expect to see that as a product marketed by Dethklok in a future episode of Metalocalypse.

...Not originally designed... (3, Interesting)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851053)

The summary indicates that it works well when applied to a vehicle not originally designed for pedestrian protection. They say this in conjunction with research indicating where a pedestrian's head will hit.

I'm sorry, but what cars are designed with pedestrian protection in mind in scenarios that would involve striking a pedestrian such that his head would hit my windshield?

Also, if I'm protecting the pedestrian, do I lose my entire field of view, and end up running down other pedestrians?

Re:...Not originally designed... (3, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851215)

"When fitted to a demonstrator vehicle not originally designed with pedestrian protection in mind, the results were well inside all current legal criteria for pedestrian protection currently in force in Europe"

Okay, so this airbag was sufficient to meet with pedestrian protection laws... Uh, assuming most cars on the road are compliant with the law, I'm wondering exactly how much protection those laws call for. I'd think pretty much anything that didn't attempt to increase pedestrian danger would be fine. So no spiked grills, buzz saws, axe wheels, reactive armor, pumapults and the like. Since an airbag isn't any of those things (or at least isn't if designed correctly), add one to a car that is street legal and -- ta-da! -- it's still street legal! Woo!

Re:...Not originally designed... (2, Funny)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851291)

Since an airbag isn't any of those things

Sir, I applaud your engineering genius. I must build a reactive armor airbag: the car, upon being assaulted by a pedestrian, cushions the pedestrian's impact...just as it throws him 30 feet into the air.

Re:...Not originally designed... (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851477)

Hey man, let's see you design an air bag that isn't actually a spinning axe wheel of death or a mountain lion and see if you think it's that easy. And if you do, then let me know what I'm doing wrong?!

Re:...Not originally designed... (4, Insightful)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851441)

Actually, it pales in comparison to the #1 advance for "pedestrian protection", DON'T F-ING HIT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Sorry, but the idea that ricocheting a pedestrian from my hood into something else (presumably something without an airbag) seems absurd.

At BEST its attempting to move liability from one person (the one driving the vehicle), to another (the driver that caused the life altering injury when some hapless pedestrian got thrown like a billiard ball against his car).

If these come out, I'm just going to wait until the lawsuits start piling in, although since they'll most likely be filed by living people instead of on their behalf, it may take juries a bit to warm up to the idea of placing blame where it really belongs (cue Monty-Python's "You got turned into a newt? ... I got better" routine)

Re:...Not originally designed... (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851557)

Actually, it pales in comparison to the #1 advance for "pedestrian protection", DON'T F-ING HIT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Sorry, but the idea that ricocheting a pedestrian from my hood into something else (presumably something without an airbag) seems absurd.

And I find your suggestion to not plow into pedestrians equally absurd. How else am I going to rack up combo bonus points?

Also, obviously the goal is to have as many cars as possible with these air bags on them, so the pedestrian won't just bounce off my car into another air-bagless car and die, but instead will be bounced again and again from car to car until harmlessly tossed onto the grass, where they will doubtless jump up and shout in child-like glee "Again! Again!" And I'll get like 10,000 points for a 40-bounce combo. Looks like a win-win scenario to me. Why Luddites like you are against using technology to make life more awesome, I'll never know.

Re:...Not originally designed... (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851713)

And I find your suggestion to not plow into pedestrians equally absurd. How else am I going to rack up combo bonus points?

Also, obviously the goal is to have as many cars as possible with these air bags on them, so the pedestrian won't just bounce off my car into another air-bagless car and die, but instead will be bounced again and again from car to car until harmlessly tossed onto the grass, where they will doubtless jump up and shout in child-like glee "Again! Again!" And I'll get like 10,000 points for a 40-bounce combo. Looks like a win-win scenario to me. Why Luddites like you are against using technology to make life more awesome, I'll never know.

Ah. I obviously hadn't considered the "Multi-Bounce onto the Grass" scenario. ... now if only they would start planting grass on City Sidewalks.

Re:...Not originally designed... (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851749)

Don't they have parks in your city? The drivers would probably start passing the pedestrian along, like a game of vehicular hackey sack, towards the city park. Bonus points if they land in the fountain!

Re:...Not originally designed... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852293)

How else am I going to rack up combo bonus points?

Aim for kids on bikes.

Re:...Not originally designed... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851883)

Actually, it pales in comparison to the #1 advance for "pedestrian protection", DON'T F-ING HIT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Are you kidding, that little old lady with the walker was practically begging for it.

Re:...Not originally designed... (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852149)

No shit, that must be why she's there like every other block no matter how many times you hit her. Hey, she wants to get hit, who am I to let her down.

Re:...Not originally designed... (4, Informative)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851467)

Most cars on the road today are not compliant to the new standards beacause they were changed last year and are only enforced on NEW vehicles. However, I don't believe even all new vehicles have to comply this year already but have a few year's time to adapt.

The most notable change you can see is that all new European cars (model year 2009) have an extremely high front bumper and are incredibly round on that end making them look somewhat chubby. Most of them are also made so the bonnet can collapse under a pedestrian's weight while also making sure they don't hit the engine or something on it.

Another very noticable change is that the edge between bonnet and wind screen is no longer a sharp metalic edge on most cars, but has a smooth transition made of plastic.

I am saying this as an armchair crash test fanatic, not an expert in the field so I might be marginally incorrect on some points.

Re:...Not originally designed... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851589)

Okay, so if my car had those pedestrian safety modifications, and a pumapult, would it be compliant? Or are those still not okay?

Re:...Not originally designed... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851729)

I am saying this as an armchair crash test fanatic, not an expert in the field so I might be marginally incorrect on some points.

I think you need to go outside more often. Really.

Do you, like, subscribe to a newsletter? Or is there a forum for this sort of perversion?

Re:...Not originally designed... (2, Interesting)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851887)

Youtube+Fifth Gear+Top Gear+all car magazines

There's a lot of crash testing out there that trinkles down to the consumer because vehicle safety, in Europe at least, is a huge huge selling point.

Also back in primary school I used to make crash test cars out of Lego, crashed them into walls, inspected the damage, tweaked and so on. After ten generations of the car they became so safe the "driver" didn't leave his seat even without a seatbelt, while the car desintegrated into tiny bits around him. Fun times.

Re:...Not originally designed... (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852231)

Wow. Never even thought about this sort of thing.

The world is a big place. I just thought everybody played with Thermite when they were kids.

Re:...Not originally designed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851539)

Uh, assuming most cars on the road are compliant with the law,

To quote Sam Jackson: "Know what happens when you make an assumption? You make an ass out of U and Mption."

The pedestrian protection laws are still being implemented in the EU and existing vehicles are grandfathered in. Just because the vehicle was legal last year doesn't mean that it would still be legal today.

Re:...Not originally designed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851971)

I'm sorry, but what cars are designed with pedestrian protection in mind

All the [new] cars in Europe.

yeah.... (2, Funny)

reidiq (1434945) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851065)

I can see someone changing the windshield wipers and all the sudden............

Re:yeah.... (0)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851129)

...did you get your hands blown off at the wrists the last time you used the horn?

and now for something completely stupid... (2, Interesting)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851073)

Yeah, the impact from the car won't scratch you, but when it shoves you into a stationary lamp post or wall at 45 mph you will still splatter.

Re:and now for something completely stupid... (1)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851553)

That would have been the perfect last scene to this little sketch [truveo.com] .

Car analogy (3, Funny)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851075)

In the ongoing spirit of computer/car comparisons, I suggest we install an airbag on computers to deploy when inept users approach in the hope of repelling them.

Actually, maybe I'll just put one of these on the entrance to my cubicle to keep the salesmen away.

Re:Car analogy (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851917)

In the ongoing spirit of computer/car comparisons, I suggest we install an airbag on computers to deploy when inept users approach in the hope of repelling them.

Actually, maybe I'll just put one of these on the entrance to my cubicle to keep the salesmen away.

I installed electrodes that deliver a mild shock when they do something bad and a little treat dispenser for when they do something right.

Operant conditioning FTW.

Oblig. Jimmy Carr (1)

geedra (1009933) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851081)

As Jimmy Carr would say... "Where's the ad for swerving?" "slow down, take the edge off, but it must learn its lesson!"

Farmers Markets (2, Funny)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851085)

I guess this means I can start going back to farmers markets that don't already have protection from being massacred by elderly drivers.

Re:Farmers Markets (2, Informative)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851345)

There is a fundamental flaw here - your statement implies that the onus is on pedestrians and the locations they frequent to protect themselves (or, worse yet, on drivers to not hit pedestrians).

The truth of the matter is that it is the responsibility of automobile manufacturers to ensure that people not riding in cars are safe at all times.

Re:Farmers Markets (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852127)

You're insinuating that the manufacturers and not drivers are responsible if someone is killed when a car hits a pedestrian? Frankly that's insane, also I as a pedestrian in a large city known for such accidents try to keep up my vigilance to avoid putting myself in vulnerable situations.

Re:Farmers Markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27852179)

The GP was making a joke. Maybe you were too?

Re:Farmers Markets (2, Insightful)

SlappyMcInty (688145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852285)

Well that seems like a pile of crap. Of course the pedestrians (like anyone else) are responsible for their own well being - to protect themselves. This is one of the major problems with everyone today - the "it's not my responsibility to use common sense" mentality.

Statistics (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851087)

FTA:

A standard car hitting a pedestrian at 25 mph would have a Head Impact Criterion score of about 1,000. That translates to an 18 per cent chance of a life-threatening injury.

Note to self: one in six is pretty shitty, especially since that's life-threatening, not life-ending. Must go faster to reduce chance of victim surviving. Or make sure to get the head beneath the tires.

Oops -- was that my out-loud voice?

Is this really a good idea? (3, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851093)

I say we mount spikes on the grills of our vehicles, so pedestrians will know to get the hell out of our way! Like most attempts to coddle the clueless, won't widespread adoption of this just result in even more careless pedestrians? Besides which, when I point my vehicle at someone and accelerate, I wanna make sure they die, not get thrown safely clear and live to sue me. Besides which, some people [wowowow.com] would never buy a car with this feature.

Re:Is this really a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851191)

some people [wowowow.com]

I really like how the url for this article says "car-crash-festival" rather than "car-crash-at-festival". had me thinking something entirely different before the page loaded.

Re:Is this really a good idea? (3, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851519)

Like most attempts to coddle the clueless, won't widespread adoption of this just result in even more careless pedestrians?

Yeah, those damn pedestrians keep walking on that sidewalk I use for my shortcuts!

Re:Is this really a good idea? (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851645)

I say we mount spikes on the grills of our vehicles, so pedestrians will know to get the hell out of our way! Like most attempts to coddle the clueless, won't widespread adoption of this just result in even more careless pedestrians?

Agreed. Why not let evolution take care of this? By making cars more deadly, eventually humans will evolve to be impervious to cars crashing into them (and by extension, impervious to crashing while riding in cars). The problem will solve itself!

Re:Is this really a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851835)

Yes, I am sure that people will think, "You know I could get out of the way, but so many cars now-a-days come with pedestrian air-bags so I think I'll just let that car hit me."

Re:Is this really a good idea? (1)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851861)

Upon hovering my mouse over that URL, I was left thinking: "Wow, only 4 dead after a car crash festival? The Dutch don't know how to properly honor a queen."

Not to worry (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852103)

A good handbrake slide will catch the pedestrian better as you'll have more surface area, and it'll be a long time before they think to deploy airbags on the outside of your side!

Re:Not to worry (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852235)

A good handbrake slide will catch the pedestrian better as you'll have more surface area Sure, but that requires a certain amount of skill that those not practiced in the art of "drifting" don't possess. Plus, the tire screeching it produces serves as an advance warning that gives the pedestrian more time to run away. Nope, I'll stick with the tried and true good ol' American method of "point the car in the general direction of what you want to hit", thank you very much!

Would you pay extra for this? (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851139)

I mean, if I got hit by a car, I might appreciate that they'd paid extra for it, but since I'm not likely to hit myself with my car (unless my wife tries to run me down), why would I pay extra?

Unless this is mandated, it won't catch on.

Re:Would you pay extra for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851349)

Unless this is mandated, it won't catch on.

Might make your insurance go down..?

Then again, it's usually cheaper if the victim dies, so it might be a wash.

Re:Would you pay extra for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851381)

Unless it's rewarded by the insurance companies. Lowering damage to pedestrians involved in an accident means reducing insurance payments to eventual victims. For liability insurances, this could make a lot of sense. They could charge higher rates to cars without pedestrian airbag and have a defensible case.

There are also arguments for just mandating it, but if that fails, I have some hopes on the insurance front.

Re:Would you pay extra for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851447)

Yes, because most people think it is good to save a few pennies (relatively speaking), so that other people get hurt more/killed if they fuck up...

Most people actually don't want to hurt other people...

Re:Would you pay extra for this? (2, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851907)

And I don't doubt that most people would agree with you, right up to the point where you ask them to take their check book out. Or until you ask them to choose this over heated leather seats.

Re:Would you pay extra for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27852015)

I mean, if I got hit by a car, I might appreciate that they'd paid extra for it, but since I'm not likely to hit myself with my car (unless my wife tries to run me down), why would I pay extra?

Unless this is mandated, it won't catch on.

If you think about this, I am sure you would feel quite shit if you killed someone in car accident and you might be able to avoid it?

then again, in reality, that probably aint enough to make us pay few thousand dollars extra. arent we all shitty people?

Re:Would you pay extra for this? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852267)

I don't think it's that so much as that most people will see it as a waste.

First, no one expects to ever hit a pedestrian (I know I don't; I've had my fair share of mishaps while driving but never came close to hitting a pedestrian) and second, even if they *do* hit a pedestrian, the odds of the circumstances being just right for this device to not only come into effect but also help protect the pedestrian are so low it's just not worth the extra money. Better to spend more money on driver training and features that help the driver put that training into effect.

Dedicated gamers want to know... (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851183)

What is this going to do to our Death Race 2000 scores?

Great, no more worries about my car... (1)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851199)

"actual customer" (yea right) in infomercial:

I used to be worried about crashing into one of those punk teenager skaters thinking their body piercing might scratch my car paint uppon impact.

Now I don't have to worry about that anymore!

If I ever crash into one, the airbag will protect my car paint!! And as a bonus, one might even bounce off so fast onto another car/wall/lampost, he might die permanently, one less punk on the street! Thank you External Airbag!"

Re:Great, no more worries about my car... (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851253)

he might die permanently Yeah, I hate it when they just die temporarily... damn zombies!

I need one... (1)

MikeOtl67of (1503531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851299)

... I want to test it on my dear neighbour ...

"pre-detect" collisions? (1)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851321)

"The system uses radar and infrared technology to 'pre-detect' a collision..."

Normal airbags inflate post-collision, but before you smack into the steering column. These new systems (1) detect imminent collisions and (2) react automatically. Am I stuck in 2004, or is that new?

Re:"pre-detect" collisions? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851575)

The upcoming version replaces all in-vehicle systems with three creepy misshapen children embedded in your bedside table. They tell you ahead of time whether you'll hit any pedestrians that day, so you can call in sick and avoid the problem.

Last week in Holland... (1)

hkz (1266066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851403)

...some idiot plowed deliberately through the crowd at a Queen's Day rally in an apparent attempt to commit suicide and take the Royal family with him. Seven people died. Since this was live on national TV, there is surreal broadcast-quality footage that makes it look like some bad movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1Vs-9tfkX0 [youtube.com]

First thing in my mind when I read this post. //Dutch.

Re:Last week in Holland... (1)

hkz (1266066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851511)

Because I'm going to hell anyway, here's a better clip with the street-level point of view. First time I saw this, my blood drew cold.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Cg5oVVGilM [youtube.com]

Will this just "encourage" stupid driving? (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851435)

I wonder just how somebody like this [chicagobreakingnews.com] stupid oxygen thief (woman killed a motorcyclist because she was too busy doing her nails to actually drive her car) might think "It's OK if I hit somebody now - I have this airbag!".

Dads... (4, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851487)

Lock up your daughters! A pillow on the hood of the car? As if they needed any MORE encouragement...

Nanny State (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27851501)

If we are going to rely on the government to protect us, then wouldn't it be much cheaper to make all pedestrians wear helmets than try and fit this on every car made?

Not to mention the cost of replacement is so much cheaper. If you kill a pedestrian you still have to replace your airbag, but if the pedestrian wearing a helmet dies then no new helmet need be purchased.

It's all an elaborate ploy... (2, Interesting)

keeegan (1526067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851515)

To put more people in jail for DUI's. Personally, I hope it works.

You're gonna need this airbag... (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851521)

because when you're driving through town you won't want to slow down enough that the sneaky pedestrians can bounce off your car just to set off the air bag.

Seriously, if anyone sees this on a car they'll be trying to set it off all the time. Especially if it costs the driver a thousand bucks just to get it reset.

They're doing it wrong! (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851547)

The pedestrians should be the ones fitted with airbags.

Funniest Home Videos (1)

alta (1263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851585)

Haven't we all seen the one where there's a large inflatable thing in the middle of a lake with a kid on it. A heavy adult jumps onto it from something high, and LAUNCHES the young child in the air like a flailing sack of potatos...

Someone find the link, I hate video sites.

Awesome, but one concern (3, Insightful)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851617)

This is seriously awesome. I applaud the good work these researchers are doing. However, this line caught my eye:

The system uses radar and infrared technology to "pre-detect" a collision and inflates quickly enough to cushion the impact, said Roger Hardy of the university's Cranfield Impact Centre.

It seems possible that such a sensor could be duped with false input on the proper frequencies, causing the bag to deploy. This would likely be a malicious and expensive prank, as well as obstructing the drivers view. Of course, it would require technical expertise, putting it out of reach of most pranksters.

Iron Spike (5, Insightful)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851629)

What I really want is an iron spike in the center of the steering wheel. Then the people who should be driving instead of [pick the distraction] would actually pay attention to the task at hand.

[John]

Re:Iron Spike (1)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852141)

Hello I'm GM's new CEO.
Would you like to be our new design engineer in chief? .... well, I wish I was GM's new CEO to ask you that.

Re:Iron Spike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27852187)

Wa-huh???

Because all accidents are the drivers fault right? No-one ever got shunted, no-one ever had an animal run out in front of them, everyone gets exactly what they deserve...This isn't stupid, reactionary or poorly-thought-through at all, no...well, not according to +5 insightful mods, anyway...

Followed Almost Immediately (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851745)

By a new sport by drivers to see how high they can bounce pedestrians.

Zombies? (3, Funny)

rleibman (622895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851755)

In any scary movie when the good guys get on the car and then try to mow down the bad guys with the car they have some measure of success. With this external airbag I'm not sure this is going to work very well... We must provide more anti-zombie (and anti-raptor) features in cars. I mean... give me a car advertised as "20% more likely to survive a zombie attack" and I'm right there.

Wow. I wonder if Honda thought of but dismissed (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851937)

what about the front end (bumper) (2, Interesting)

Penguin Follower (576525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27851953)

But what about the front of the car that takes out your legs? Plus, the airbag at the windshield seems like it wouldn't help since it's barely above the hood across the center.

Pull your head out of your A$$ (2, Informative)

alexschmidt (1026034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852035)

..and look around you when you are walking around. I'm sure many of us have seen people just blindly walk into the road figuring 'well, I have the right of way, car must stop'... Defensive driving is about paying attention and looking ahead. The same applies when you are walking around. If you are walking into traffic without paying attention, it's 'evolution in action'. This sort of safety mechanism is stupid and expensive and really won't do much to save lives. If you get hit by a car at anything over 20kph, you'll likely spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair drooling.

Re:Pull your head out of your A$$ (1)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852171)

Indeed, which is why I loathe the "pedestrian right of way" concept. People blindly walk out into intersections all the time in Atlanta because they have the "right of way", which is bloody idiotic. The laws of physics overrule the laws of man, and a 40mph, 3000 pound car isn't going to come to a dead halt in the space of twenty feet just because you have the "right of way", nor is your "right of way" going to help you when you're a smear across the asphalt because someone didn't see you or couldn't stop in time.

On foot, at a crosswalk where I have the right of way I will stand there until traffic is clear, no matter how long it takes -- not just stroll across hoping people will stop. My parents taught me not to walk into traffic when I was three.

Re:Pull your head out of your A$$ (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27852297)

You know, I don't see a problem. I have screen wipers. There are other valid reasons why you shouldn't mow down pedestrians, though, not only do they make dents at a decent speed, they also mess up your paintwork..

Already in commercial sector... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27852229)

Autoliv already sells something like this to OEMs and/or is developing it.

Autolive ped protection [autoliv.com]

What about other Creatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27852287)

Will this help deer, elk and moose, which get hit a lot more often than people (just ask Google :-)? Or the driver in the case of a 1000 pound moose hitting the windshield?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...