Fender Bender Ender: The Car Wrapped in Plastic Bubbles

Airbags on the inside of cars have become pretty much the standard now, even if some people still believe they do more harm than good. So what’s the next step in automobile safety? Why, exterior airbags, of course. This slightly ridiculous-looking concept is called Easpace, and it proposes to keep your car’s paint job and body from getting scuffed up in an accident while keeping you and your family a little safer than before. It would do this by deploying funny little external airbags whenever a collision is imminent, cushioning your car from the impact so that you save on a body shop bill and feel less of a jolt from inside the car.

The external airbags may be a silly idea, but we do like the other part of the design: an LED warning system that lets other drivers know when they’re getting too close. This might pose a safety issue of its own (since adding more blinking lights to a driver’s field of vision is typically not a great idea) but could actually help to alert inattentive drivers and prevent accidents. The Easpace car would even include a little badge letting other drivers know that special passengers are aboard like children, pregnant women or elderly people. Judging by how most people drive everyday, however, that knowledge probably wouldn’t change their road behavior much.

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See more in Cars & Trucks or under Transportation. September, 2011.
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