The Bosch system that has saved 90.000 lives

40 years ago the electronic car airbag control unit that deploys faster than the blink of an eye was launched.

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A collision, a loud explosion and a tragedy that was avoided. That's the easiest way to describe airbag benefits and of the key role played in this protective "detonation" by the control unit created by Bosch 40 years ago and mass-produced through an alliance with Daimler-Benz AG.

Since the start of full-scale production in December 1980, Bosch has manufactured more than 250 million airbag control units, constantly perfecting the technology.

Bosch AirbagThe company's accident investigators estimate that, since its launch, the same have helped save some 90.000 lives around the world. This makes them a key component of zero vision - no fatalities or serious injuries in traffic.


Through internal and external pressure, yaw rate and acceleration sensors, a state-of-the-art airbag control unit identifies the type of accident, its severity, and deploys the airbag and belt tensioner as needed.

In solo ten milliseconds, the trigger algorithm interprets the sensor data to determine if the driver simply steps on the brake, hits a parked car, jumps onto the sidewalk, or if the vehicle has been in a collision or is at risk of rolling over.

If the situation is dangerous, the system activates the pyrotechnic gas generator. In 30 milliseconds, the airbag is fully inflated and can protect the driver and passengers.

Bosch AirbagCurrent vehicles come with up to nine airbags installed, which can be deployed individually depending on the accident scene. After a collision, the system also sends a signal to cut off the fuel supply or, in electric vehicles, to disconnect the high-voltage battery.

In addition, the system sends information about the accident to other vehicle systems, for example, eCall, which automatically calls emergency services after an airbag has deployed.


In the future, As the number of sensors in vehicles increases, applying the information they collect could ensure that airbags, belt tensioners and other vehicle functions interact even better. The system quickly recognizes an impending accident and, for example, automatically places the occupants in a seated position that reduces the risk of injury before the actual collision. You can deploy the air bags and belt tensioners to provide the best possible crash protection for each person in the vehicle.

Increasingly automated driving is an area where these possibilities are relevant, as in the upper levels it opens up completely new interior concepts and more room to move, even for drivers: they can turn their seat, turn to look at the cars. passengers or get comfortable in your seat.

As the seating arrangement in the vehicle becomes more flexible, it is increasingly crucial to have very specific control of airbags and belt tensioners. In turn, this increases the complexity of the demands on the airbag control units that Bosch is already working on today. Even after 40 years, this particular bag of tricks is still far from empty.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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