In response to a steep rise in the number of accidents in the 1960s, in 1967 Mercedes-Benz started work on an airbag for practical use. The sensors and the system to generate the gas, as well as the airbag fabric, were new developments. Initial versions relied on compressed air and freon to fill the airbag. However, the best technical solution proved to be a textile bag that, in the event of an accident, can be inflated in milliseconds by a pyrotechnic generator to gently cushion the driver.
In 1971 Mercedes-Benz was granted Patent DE 2152902 C2 for the airbag.