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Volvo developing the EnVeloP whole car airbag

An exterior airbag that will surround the entire body of a vehicle in the event of an accident is under development by Volvo, exactly one year after the company announced the pedestrian airbag on the Volvo V40.

In The World Is Not Enough, James Bond deploys a device built into his jacket that forms a 12-foot airbag bubble to protect him and his paramour from an avalanche in the Swiss Alps. If you recall that image, it will provide a clue to how Volvo’s EnVeloP system will work.

Volvo’s External Vehicle Protection (from which the brand selected certain letters to create the EnVeloP acronym) is concealed within the roof of the vehicle. Within a concealed compartment a folded balloon, made of material similar to standard airbags, awaits deployment.

When a collision is imminent and unavoidable, regardless of what the impact is with – another car, an immobile object or even a watery surface – the balloon will unfold in less than a second surrounding the car with a protective cushion.

By entirely enveloping the car, the EnVeloP system minimizes damage to the vehicle and what it collides with, while Volvo’s internal safety systems protect the occupants.

Furthermore, if you happen to be the kind of person who is aroused by a collision with a beautiful Swede, an instantaneous privacy curtain would be provided, as well.

That was our little joke, but Volvo’s development of this technology is completely on the level. Though their reputation came into question a decade ago, the brand appears to have returned to their roots and mission to build the safest cars on the road.

Will Volvo be the first to offer autonomous cars in the name of safety? Somehow it would not surprise us.


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Is this going to work like that giant inflatable thing that Jackie Chan tumbled down a mountain in?