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Imagine that, like a toontown taxi, a regular road car could suck in its gut just before a crash to better absorb the force of a side impact. Now picture a bunch of German guys in white short sleeved shirts and pocket protectors trying to make it happen. That, according to New Scientist, is a pretty good picture of what's going on inside Siemens, which is developing a new active-safety system using a shape-memory alloy. A car so equipped would call on mounted cameras and radar to detect an encroaching object, which would activate a type of metal in the body structure that could shift its shape to distribute the shock more evenly — thereby reducing catastrophic injury. It's just one of the projects the EU is funding to make cars safer by employing all manner of new technologies.

Shape-shifting car will brace for impact [New Scientist via Motorpulse]

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