The goal of an airbag is to slow the passenger’s forward motion as evenly as possible in a fraction of a second. The engineering behind the airbags is pretty amazing. Let’s explore how do they work in detail.
When a car hits something, it starts to decelerate (lose speed) very rapidly. An accelerometer (electronic chip that measures acceleration or force) detects the change of speed. If the deceleration is great enough, the accelerometer triggers the airbag circuit. Watch the video from Lesics for more info:
During a crash, the vehicle’s crash sensors provide crucial information to the airbag electronic controller unit (ECU), including collision type, angle, and severity of impact.
Using this information, the airbag ECU’s crash algorithm determines if the crash event meets the criteria for deployment and triggers various firing circuits to deploy one or more airbag modules within the vehicle. Working as a supplemental restraint system to the vehicle’s seat-belt systems, airbag module deployments are triggered through a pyrotechnic process that is designed to be used once.