Happy Birthday Airbags

by Nate Torvik on August 8, 2012

This year marks the 25th birthday of the front passenger airbag. Is anyone surprised by the fact that Mercedes-Benz was the first company to release the passenger side airbag? Me neither. With all of the advanced safety features in a Mercedes today, it is really no wonder that one of the most technologically advanced automobile companies in the world was the first to come out with such a staple in the automotive community.

If you did the simple math, you would realize that the first front passenger airbag was released back in 1987. This new-era safety feature was placed into the Mercedes-Benz flagship class of vehicles, the S-Class. Always at the forefront of both new Mercedes technology and automotive technology, the S-Class is still the leader in innovation for Mercedes and is often the guinea pig for new advancements. The airbag was placed in more models every year until 1994, when the front passenger airbag came standard in every Mercedes-Benz model.

The driver airbag, also a Mercedes-Benz innovation, was first placed in a Mercedes vehicle in 1981. Yet again, it was first placed in the S-Class. While the driver airbag has always been placed in the middle of the steering column, the passenger airbag development was a bit more difficult. The passenger airbag originally took the spot of the glove compartment, but as technology advanced, the modules were created in smaller and smaller sizes. So, the glove compartment returned, and the airbag was placed directly above it.

Today, there is no limit to the amount of airbag placements in vehicles. Things like side airbags, side curtain airbags, adaptive airbags, airbags in the headrests, and the newly developed Beltbag have all become a part of the automotive industry’s drive to create the safest vehicles on the road. Eventually, there may even be too many airbags in the vehicles from companies being a bit over ambitious, but the technological advancements being made in the realm of safety in vehicles every day is more and more exciting.

Doesn’t it give you a sense of security to know that when you’re out on the road, you’re surrounded by high-tech safety features ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice? While we probably can’t even imagine driving in a vehicle without airbags, remember it was only 25 years ago that the airbag was just a pipe dream. Thankfully, Mercedes-Benz was able to help create one of the greatest inventions in automotive safety technology to date, and even now are developing the next phase of safety features for our future generations of drivers.

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