Airbags are a great way to protect the driver and their passengers inside the car from serious harm in the event of an accident. However what about protecting the car or the objects that they might collide into? Wouldn’t external airbags make just as much sense? Turns out that this is something Google has been thinking about.

In a patent filed by Google (via Engadget), it seems that the company has been tinkering with the idea of creating external airbags which could be used in the company’s self-driving vehicles. In some ways this actually makes sense since the airbags could protect the car and people or other cars that it might hit during the course of it driving itself.

However if you have seen videos of airbags being deployed, you know that it is a rather violent and sudden action, and applying that to a pedestrian that one might hit could actually send them flying and suffer more damage rather than mitigate it. To solve this problem, Google is looking into the use of a visco-elastic material that would have a bit of give to help prevent serious injury.

The idea of external airbags isn’t exactly new as Volvo has toyed with a similar idea in the past, which you can check out in the video above, but in the meantime what do you guys think? Should external airbags be something car manufacturers be thinking about?

Filed in Transportation. Read more about and .

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