Ford Selling Inflatable Safety Belt Technology to Other Automakers

Cars have evolved a lot from their motorized wagon shape in the early days. We have comfortable chairs, electric everything, slipstream bodywork, 10 times the power and they can almost drive themselves to help reduce human errors and improve safety.
Ford inflatable seatblets 1 photo
Photo: Ford
Speaking of safety, every automaker tries to come with more passive and active systems in order to keep passengers alive after a crash. Sudden changes of inertia is our bodies biggest enemy in an accident and studies are continuing to search new ways to control it.

We still don’t have that instant Securefoam from the Demolition Man to fill up the cabin in case of a crash, but Ford came with inflatable seatbelts for now, also hoping to find their way in many other vehicles out there through a tech sharing program.

Ford Motor Company just announced it’s offering its patented inflatable safety belt technology to other companies and industries, including competitive automotive manufacturers, thus hoping to add some changes to a universal safety system that seemed neglected so far.

Although seatbelts have evolved too from just a lap belt to a three-point harness you barely feel wearing in normal conditions, they still come with the risk of breaking your chest bones in a severe crash.

This happens because the seatbelt’s standard width is too small for your body’s inertia to be evenly distributed. Hence, extra pressure will be exerted over your sternum and ribs.

Ford’s inflatable seatbelt looks and works as a classic one under normal conditions. It just looks a bit fluffier, but that’s because it contains an inner enclosed air-bag-like section that does its job only in case of an accident.

Just like the normal airbags, the special inner section of the seatbelt gets rapidly inflated at the moment of impact thanks to pressurized gas tubes located under the seat. Don’t worry though, because the air in them is cold and there is no risk of burning your skin.

The now inflated section increases the active area of the seatbelt by five times, helping to better spread the pressure on the passenger’s chest and also control head and neck motion.

The inflatable safety belt is currently available on Ford Explorer, Flex, Fusion and the upcoming 2015 F-150, as well as Lincoln MKT and MKZ for outboard second-row seating positions.

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