TOKYO MOTOR SHOW 2017 | Concept car fends off dents with external airbags

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A Japanese company unveils a concept car with airbags on the outside to protect pedestrians and drivers in a crash. Reuters’ Stuart McDill reports.

Raising eybrows at the Tokyo Motor Show – meet the concept car turning safety inside out External airbags protect the Flesby II from fender benders – absorbing the impact of a collision and repairing any dents in an instant.

“We put airbags, which is mainly employed inside the car, on its exterior such as its hood or fender to protect the entire body, as we wanted to express our concept of safety,” Takashi Ishikawa, managing officer of Toyoda Gosei co., saying.

Toyoda Gosei says the body panels of the ultra-compact autonomous vehicle are covered by a soft, next-generation rubber that can change shape So its easier to get in and out – and more streamlined for high speeds LED lighting projected on the airbags give it an expressive face – for more than just show the car will not only communicate with it’s passenger or driver – but also with pedestrians.

“It looks really cute. Given that there are a lot of cars with the front looking like a scary face, I think this roundish car will change street scenes,” Eichi Morita, 46 year-old motor show visitor, saying.

Many concept cars never go into production but Toyoda Gosei hope Flesby II will be bouncing round the roads by 2030.