Steve Shoap has patented a system that he believes will allow manufacturers to build lighter, safer small cars in an effort to increase fuel efficiency. His system involves incorporating substantial bumpers into a vehicle's side as well as a new "crumple box" that will help absorb and dissipate the energy from a side-impact collision.
Shoap's only prototype isn't exactly pretty, but he's confident the tech will allow the use of lighter-weight B-pillars and doors. If you're thinking those rods built into the side of the cardboard car above look like they'd up your chance of being impaled four-fold, don't worry, the inventor says that the bumpers would bend up and out of the way in the event of an accident. Color us skeptical.