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25 Years of Airbag~Today's Limits and Future Potential of a Key Technology
Published December 04, 2006 by Fraunhofer Institut Chemische Technologie in Germany
Event: Airbag 2006
This article looks at the history of how the airbag was developed and reflects on the level of protection it now offers vehicle occupants. In addition to the seat belt and rigid passenger compartment, the airbag is yet another milestone reached in enhancing occupant safety. In 1969, Mercedes-Benz decided to start series development of the airbag and at the end of 1980 introduced the airbag into the market as a supplement to the seatbelt and it has been available since then. Firstly as optional equipment and then as standard equipment. Today virtually all primary points of contact in the vehicle interior are covered by airbags to protect occupants.
As relevant legislation was passed and crash ratings followed, these independent vehicle assessments gained in popularity such that automotive manufacturers could not imagine a world without modern airbag technology. Vehicle purchasers now consider the airbag as one of the most important pieces of equipment.
Against this historical background, this article hopes to guide future tuning of airbag and restraint systems, especially with regards to active and passive safety systems.