IIHS Applauds Ford's Inflatable Belts

Ford last week introduced the industry's first inflatable seatbelts for rear passengers, a combination of regular seatbelts and airbags meant to enhance safety in case of accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) praised Ford's efforts in the safety area and emphasized that such an innovation is useful for the whole industry.

"We think it's a good idea," said Adrian Lund, president of the institute. "It will help keep people in a better position in rollovers and accidents."

The inflatable seatbelts provide increased production to rear-seat occupants, such as children and other passengers vulnerable to head, chest and neck injuries. They are designed to deploy over a passenger's torso an shoulders in around 40 milliseconds in the event of an impact. Each belt contains cold compressed gas, specially designed to flow through a buckle from a cylinder housed below the seat.

“It’s a very simple and logical system, but it required extensive trial and error and testing over several years to prove out the technology and ensure precise reliable performance in a crash situation,” said Srini Sundararajan, safety technical leader for Ford research and advance engineering.

The system will debut on the next-generation Ford Explorer in 2010.

“Ford’s rear inflatable seat belt technology will enhance safety for rear-seat passengers of all ages, especially for young children who are more vulnerable in crashes,”
said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Engineering. “This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership, including the most top safety ratings of any automaker.”
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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