Airbag development at Mercedes-Benz began as early as in 1966, with the company registering the corresponding patent (patent specifications document No. DE 21 52 902 C2) in October 1971. As the first production-ready solution, the driver’s airbag was introduced in the S-Class of model series 126 in 1981. This was a milestone in the passive safety of Mercedes-Benz. Due to its fundamental importance, this innovation was quickly adopted by the entire auto industry.
Little has changed in the basic principle of the first airbag to the present day: the airbag control unit uses various sensors to identify for instance a particularly strong deceleration occurring in a typical severe impact and decides which restraint systems need to be activated. If an airbag is triggered, the airbag inflator fills the cushion-shaped textile structure, typically made of polyamide fabric – the airbag. In addition to the seatbelt with its belt tensioner and load limiter, the protective airbag helps to reduce the impact of the crash to the human body.