The History of Automobile Airbags

Even though Airbags aren't actively used every day by drivers, they have such an essential purpose in the overall safety of your vehicle. Airbags have saved hundreds and thousands of lives, but when did they become a major safety feature in the automotive industry? And how have they affected society? As the innovation of airbags continues to be studied and improved today, let's discuss the history of how airbags came to be.


The airbag was conceptualized and created by a gentleman named Walter Linderer, who was from Germany. It had been patented as early as the 1950s; however, it was initially coined as a safety cushion back then. Unfortunately, Linderer's design failed. One major flaw was that it required a cue from the driver to inflate.


American John Hetrick wanted to make the previous design better, as he was a vehicle accident victim. Hetrick was the individual who called his design "airbag". However, the automotive industry still failed to recognize the functionality of the airbag. It wasn't until the late 60s when Allen Breeced patented and created a sensor that could work in tandem with the airbag in the incident of an automotive crash. The creation of his device significantly improved the design of the airbag system, making it a more realistic product for manufacturers to include in their vehicles.


Airbags became tolerated in the 1970s, but one major problem was that some people saw them as an alternative for seat belts. Consequently, fatal car accidents were still a problem on the rise. It wasn't until decades later that governments made rules that required vehicle manufacturers to install airbags in all their vehicles.


Today, you will find several airbags in every vehicle on the road. There have been significant advancements in sensory technologies that can better detect when, where, and how airbags should be deployed. While injuries from airbags were a concern a couple of decades ago, the risk of injury is greatly reduced thanks to recent improvements.


We hope you learned a thing or two about your vehicle's airbag system today. If your airbag system needs a repair or reset, please bring your vehicle to the automotive experts at Auto Fitness today.

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