Let's face it. There is nothing worse (save for a tree landing in your living room) than when a hail storm cruises through your neighborhood and leaves a pock marked mess of cars. Those little dents are some of the most difficult to remove, and unless you have shelter for your car, you're screwed. Or you were until this inflatable air bag working in conjunction with a weather monitoring app, hit the scene.
The cover has two layers, the bottom one that straps to your car's tires. The second, outer layer is what inflates to perform the protective shell. It inflates courtesy of four blowers that are powered by a small compressor. The compressor, powered either by AA batteries, a car's cigarette lighter or an AC outlet, remains idle until the car's owner uses a small remote to activate it.
Once engaged, the airbag can inflate in approximately five minutes and is said to repel hail even the size of a softball.
Of course this defense system doesn't work unless you know the hail is coming. That's why it's connected with a smartphone app that tracks information from the National Weather Service; when a hail storm is on the radar it alerts the car owner some 30 to 60 minutes before the storm rolls in so they can engage the system.
Once the threat is gone, the system will go on standby and then deflates to a "regular" car cover — including UV protection, water resistance and breathability.
The Hail Protector was developed by Michael Sicilliano, an inventor from Gunter, TX, who spent four years perfecting his prototype. You can find the product on his website retailing for $299 to $399 depending on your car.
Hail — you've been warned!