Even the Pedestrian You Accidentally Hit Now Gets Their Own AirbagS

Volvo has always built some of the safest cars on the road, protecting the vehicle's passengers when the unthinkable happens. But now the company has added an additional airbag to its V40 that could save the life of a pedestrian.

In addition to a long list of new features designed to protect the passengers, the new V40 wants to make sure the chances of you hitting a pedestrian are lessened, and if you do, their chances of survival are increased.

First there's its new Pedestrian Detection system which uses a combination of grill-mounted radar and a video camera to detect and recognize a person in the vehicle's path. It can also gauge if they're moving and based on the car's current speed, whether the two are on a collision course. If there is a risk of the pedestrian being hit, an audible alarm will alert the driver. And if there's not enough time for them to react, the vehicle will automatically brake on its own.

But sometimes there's not enough time to avoid hitting someone who darts out in front of your car. So to minimize injuries, the V40 includes an external airbag designed specifically for passengers. Sensors in the bumper register the impact at which point the hood is released and automatically raised by an inflating airbag that extends far enough to provide a cushion as the person rolls up onto the vehicle.

The severity of the accident is dependent on the vehicle's speed and how the person was hit. But if I was a pedestrian who accidentally stepped out in front of a moving vehicle, I sincerely hope there was a Volvo logo on its grill. [Volvo via Gizmag]