For such an important invention, it's amazing how little most people know about the airbag and its invention. This life-saving tool has only been with us since 1951. Here's the background...
A German man, Walter Linderer, file a patent on October 6, 1951. His patent was granted 2 years later and interestingly enough, it followed another patent was filed in the US by another man, John Hetrick.
Linderer's design, which used compressed air to inflate when a car bumper was hit, proved to be impractical upon testing but Hetrick's design was much more practical.
Hetrick designed what we know as the airbag today. His experiences in the US Navy informed his invention. He saw how compressed air worked with torpedoes during his time in the Navy. Unfortunately though his patent went nowhere as no major corporation would invest in his technology.
In 1967, an engineer named Allen Breed invented a real-time crash detection system. It was in the decades after that airbags started to be adopted by GM and Ford.
Of course, one of the things we service at our shop are the security apparatuses of the car. You can find out more about our Audi VW services here.