A recent announcement from parts supplier ZF surprised even The Sleuth. The company confirms that it’s developing a exterior side-impact-airbag system that would deploy from beneath the bodywork if it senses an imminent collision. ZF claims the side airbags would reduce impact velocities and intrusions by more than 30 percent. What’s more, a ZF spokesman said such a system, which would use a combination of camera- and radar-based sensors, might be ready within the next two years. Side impacts account for a significant percentage of all crash-related deaths, which, in The Sleuth’s opinion, makes the ZF system a very big deal.

Exterior side-impact bags could considerably soften the blow in a side-impact crash. Auto supplier ZF is developing the technology.

External side-impact airbags could soon become reality: