Airbags are passive safety devices that was exclusive to high end vehicles as recent as the 1990's and The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbag can now be found on all private and commercial vehicles manufactured these days because of the value to passenger safety. Although airbags can be found on the simplest of vehicles, their advancements over the years is what keeps them as a topic worth discussing for high end vehicles.
  The airbag itself is made of nylon and is coated with either cornstarch, chalk or powder to keep the bags lubricated while in storage and preserve the life of the bag. The entire system contains sensors which sends a signal when they detect a collision at or above a pre determined force. This signal is used to rapidly heat nitrogen to inflate the bag(s). The above takes place in 20 to 30 milliseconds and the airbag should be deflated in under a second as hitting an airbag that doesn't deflate is almost as bad as hitting the steering or dashboard during an accident.
  One of the factors that separates high end vehicles along this subject will be quantity of airbags that can be found in the vehicle.
  Two airbags can be found in the average vehicle, one for the driver and one for the front seat passenger to cater for impacts to the front of the vehicle only.
  High end vehicles have these two airbags and a combination of or all of the following - side impact airbags and torso airbags, curtain airbags, rear curtain and knee airbags. Some vehicles have a total of over nine airbags.
  The side airbags can be found in the doors or seats, curtain airbags can be found in the pillars or the edge of the roof where they meet the pillars, knee airbags in the door, rear airbags in the roof above the rear seats. They all have their individual sensors and they protect occupants during impacts from the front, the side, the rear and even during a rollover.
  Airbag systems must now be intelligent as they cater for different types of collisions. For instance if a frontal collision occurs only the frontal airbags should inflate. If the vehicle is struck on the left side the airbags related to the left side should inflate and not both sides. Your vehicle knows which airbag (or airbags) to inflate and it decides this in a few milliseconds. airbags
  Their intelligence has increased through crash testing and research. Both instances may be equally as fast for the human reflexes but because of the engine compartment the impact from the front will take longer to reach occupants than side impacts because of the significantly smaller amount of mass at the side of the vehicle. Taking this into consideration any type of side airbag must inflate several milliseconds faster than those in the front and this has been achieved.
  Research has also shown that a rollover accident may last longer than a direct collision so curtain and other airbags used to offer protection during a rollover will remain inflated for several seconds as opposed to inflation and deflation of other airbags in a second or less. They just take long to deflate but they still inflate at the required lightening speed.
  Airbags continue to add to the value and safety of high end vehicles and I don't see them going anywhere as long as vehicles continue to be manufactured.
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