Takata Airbag Recalls Widen To Potentially Affect Other Types Of Airbag

The Takata airbag case has become the largest product recall in history, caused over 20 deaths, and cost many billions of dollars. Replacement efforts are still ongoing, and sadly, the body count continues to rise.  Against this backdrop, further recalls have been announced affecting another type of Takata airbag.

The recall affects BMW 3 Series vehicles, produced between 1997 and 2000. Notably, it appears these cars may have been built before Takata’s fateful decision to produce airbag inflators using ammonium nitrate propellants, known for their instability. Instead, these vehicles likely used Takata’s proprietary tetrazole propellant, or Non-Azide Driver Inflators (NADI). These were developed in the 1990s, and considered a great engineering feat at the time. They were eventually phased out around 2001 for cost reasons, leading to the scandal that rolls on to this day.

As these airbags were produced before the switch to ammonium nitrate, they have thus far escaped scrutiny as part of existing recalls. Two recent incidents of airbag misdeployments in Australia led to the recall, causing a death and a serious injury. BMW Australia have advised owners not to drive affected vehicles, and are offering loan or hire cars to affected vehicles. Given the age of the affected vehicles, the company is considering a buyback program in the event that suitable replacement parts cannot be made available.

This development is foreboding, as it suggests yet more cars, originally considered safe, are now at risk of injuring or killing occupants in the event of a crash. It’s not yet clear exactly which makes are effected by this recall, but expect the numbers of vehicles to continue to climb.

[via Sydney Morning Herald]

Hackaday Podcast Ep23: Everything Breaks… Raspberry Pi, ADS-B, Hackaday Website, And Automotive Airbags

Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams talk news and great hacks from the past seven days. Sad word this week as Maker Media, the company behind Make Magazine and Maker Faire, have closed their doors. There seems to be a lot of news about broken hardware and software to discuss, with ADS-B problems grounding hundreds of flights in the US, Hackaday itself having a site outage, the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ can be bricked with a really easy mistake, and Lewin wrote a great overview of the Takata airbag debacle. Don’t worry there are still plenty of hacks as we look at old computers that sing, microcontrollers that chiptune, beat boxes that are actually boxes, and some very neat cartridge hacks for NES and Arduboy.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (60 MB)

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Takata’s Deadly Airbags: An Engineering Omnishambles

Engineers are, for the time being, only human. This applies even more so to executives, and all the other people that make up a modern organisation. Naturally, mistakes are made. Some are minor, while others are less so. It’s common knowledge that problems are best dealt with swift and early, and yet so often they are ignored in the hopes that they’ll go away.

You might have heard the name Takata in the news over the last few years. If that name doesn’t ring a bell you’ve likely heard that there was a major recall of airbag-equipped vehicles lately. The story behind it is one of a single decision leading to multiple deaths, scores of injuries, a $1 billion fine, and the collapse of a formerly massive automotive supplier.

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