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Future Prospects For Air Bag Technology: Advancements, Innovations For Safer Roads

Airbag technology has changed a lot over the years, and there are significant developments on the horizon, too. Understanding the impact of this innovation is important if you're considering the safety features of a new car or dealing with the costs of replacement parts on an existing one because it can help you see why this technology is so vital.

Past Successes and Ongoing Improvements

The NHTSA estimates that over 50,000 lives have been saved by frontal airbags since their development. As of 2012, side airbags were also responsible for saving over 2,000 lives. These estimates were based on reductions in fatalities nationally for equipped vehicles when compared to the numbers for unequipped vehicles. They were not always as effective as they are today, though.

Fine-tuning the deployment speed and force for optimum airbag performance has been an ongoing process. While there are some thresholds that are common, the exact deployment speed and force depend on the vehicle design and airbag placement as well. Successive design revisions to parts like the impact sensor have led to more precise instruments over the years, making items like the 590-204 sensor more accurate than their predecessors.

Frontal airbags were the first to be developed, so even the addition of side airbag coverage was a big improvement. Recently, far-side airbag designs have been deployed in the space between passenger and driver to avoid collisions between people during a crash.

Next-Generation Air Bag Solutions

The development of the far-side airbag was a significant change to the status quo, but engineers and automotive design teams continue to work to refine parts, processes, and entire systems. They also continue to develop new approaches to airbag technology. That means you might be able to look forward to more major changes in this area in addition to the regular design refreshes done on parts like the Dorman 590-224 impact sensor.

Pedestrian airbags have been a major point of interest for engineers and inventors for some time since pedestrian fatalities are still among the most difficult automotive safety issues to tackle. While there has yet to be a major design breakthrough that has become widespread, testing videos occasionally surface showing attempts at external airbag design. There are also some production models that are starting to use them, but they are very new.

Smart airbags are also in development, with varying degrees of implementation. The idea is to use more sophisticated sensors and software to change deployment angles, velocities, and even locations to suit the forces placed on a vehicle in a specific crash. That kind of change is incremental, so there will probably be a few rounds of smart airbags developed before the concept reaches maturity.

Keep Your Car's Air Bags Working

Decades of studies by both the Department of Transportation and private organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have shown that airbags are effective not only for the reduction of fatalities but also for the reduction of severe injuries in auto accidents. That means when a part like your air bag clock spring fails, you need to order a replacement right away. If you see a system warning when you start your car, investigate the issue today.

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