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Volvo Develops Car-Enveloping Airbag Technology

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Editor's Note: Despite being published by several news organizations, the information reported in this story was part of an April Fools Day joke on behalf of Volvo Car Group.

April 9, 2013—Volvo Car Group recently unveiled the world’s first prototype of an airbag that surrounds an entire vehicle during a collision.

Volvo’s new airbag technology—called the External Vehicle Protection system—uses a small container built into the roof of the vehicle. The container holds a folded-in, vacuum-pulled balloon that is designed with a similar material compared to other existing airbags.

The balloon instantly unfolds around the entire vehicle in the event of an unavoidable collision. By completely enveloping the car, Volvo said the External Vehicle Protection system ensures that damage and personal injury is minimized.

"For years, we have been looking at how to increase safety in our vehicles, and the airbag has played a central role in that journey," said Thomas Broberg, senior safety technical adviser at the Volvo Cars Safety Center. "This new safety feature is the embodiment of the Volvo brand philosophy, Designed Around You. Instead of finding new areas inside the car where we could add more airbag-like safety systems, we asked ourselves, ‘Why not cover the complete car in an airbag-like solution?’"

Volvo said the External Vehicle Protection system is still in a testing phase. The company is currently investigating whether the system can be fitted into future Volvo vehicle designs.

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