Did you know that your car’s airbags rely on electronic connectors? It’s true! So if you’ve ever been in a car accident and were saved by the inflation of an airbag, you have a connector to thank! The Safety Restraint System connector, to be exact.
SRS connectors connect wiring to pyrotechnic devices like belt pre-tensioners, pedestrian safety devices, knee bolsters, and (of course) airbags. In order to perform their job correctly, they must fit a number of physical constrictions including space limitations, harsh environments, vibration, and different electromagnetic noise-suppression standards. Most importantly, they must be reliable and long-lasting. They must remain effective for the entirety of the vehicle’s life, so that they don’t risk the passengers’ lives, and they must never allow for pre-mature inflation.
Airbags and SRS connectors are used in vehicles manufactured all around the world, though they are generally limited to specific regions. Germany was the first to place airbags in mass production cars, in 1981 with the famous Mercedes-Benz. Japan and North America followed soon after. Although the remaining automobile manufacturers of Europe were a little slow to include airbags at the start, they are now even better about utilizing this safety feature than North American manufacturers. Even low-cost car models typically include airbags these days.
That statement doesn’t hold true for the entire world, however. For many years, manufacturers in fast-developing countries like Brazil and China didn’t fit their cars with airbags. Recently, however, the number of cars built with airbags in these countries is growing at an astounding rate. While frontal airbags are most common worldwide, many vehicles now include multiple passenger, curtain, side, and knee bags for optimal passenger protection. Connector manufacturers with a worldwide presence have a lot to do with the acceptance of vehicle safety connectors.
So when that air bag pops into life (in just 50 milliseconds!), thank your lucky stars for efficient, compact, and reliable SRS connectors.