Earlier today, Ford Motor Company announced plans to introduce the industry’s first inflatable rear-seat belt on the next-generation Explorer, which goes into production next year. Ed DeSmet, Ford Global Seat Belt Technical Specialist says Ford is combining two of the top life-saving technologies… seat belts and air bags… to bring enhanced crash protection to rear-seat occupants.
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"They’re designed really to distribute the forces of a crash on you chest over an above what the traditional three-point seat belt does today." :08 sec.
The advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries in crashes.
"We are really looking to advance the state of the art in seat belt design and we are also trying to enhance rearseat occupant safety." :08 sec.
Ford’s inflatable rear-seat belt will debut on the next-generation Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle, which goes into production next year.
"We want to take a similar approach with rear-seat safety to enhance that and make it more like we do for front-rows today." :07 sec.
Ford’s inflatable seat belts will function like standard restraints in everyday usage, but will offer enhanced rear-seat protection when deployed during collisions. The inflatable rear-seat belts may offer added comfort due to their padded feel.
"If you picture your traditional seat belt system, and sometimes you’ll see people driving with the little pillow wraps around the seat belt webbing, that’s kind of what the inflatable belt will look like, it’s gonna be about the same width and it’s gonna be a little bit thicker and it’s gonna feel more comfortable on your chest when you’re wearing it." :17 sec.
Ford’s inflatable rear-seat belt spreads crash forces over five times more area of the body than traditional seat belts, helping reduce pressure on the chest and helping control head and neck motion for rear-seat passengers, who are often young children and the elderly and may be more injury-prone.
" We use a stored cold gas inflation system, similar to our side airbags and our curtain airbags that we already have in production today. So we’re combining some known technologies to make the new inflatable seatbelt. :11 sec.
After deployment, the belt remains inflated for several seconds before dispersing its air through the pores of the air bag material.
As DeSmet says, they’re taking the three-point belt – still the No. 1 life-saving device – and enhancing the technology for rear seat passengers.