The Surprising Technological Revolution Launched by the Air Bag

How did cars become “computers on wheels,” so automated that some are about to start driving themselves? The story begins forty-five years ago with a quest to make cars safer and the battle over the air bag.

Air bags are ubiquitous today and have saved more than 40,000 lives. But there was a time when they were controversial — even downright dangerous for some occupants. The technology ultimately developed to make air bags safer is leading to a revolution in computerized auto safety. But as cars become more and more automated, and even begin to drive themselves, are we really on the road to safety – or more recalls?

  • Producer: Drew Magratten