Inflatable Seat Belts to Be Sold by Takata

The natural evolution of the dull seat belt, the inflatable seat belt, will be expanding its reach and will no longer be a Ford key attribute. Takata Corporation, one of the biggest automotive suppliers in the world, announced today it would begin selling the technology under the name Airbelt.

Aside from several Ford models which will get it, including the new Explorer, the Airbelt will be introduced on the Lexus LFA. Commercially, the Airbelt on the LFA will be known as SRS Seat Belt Airbag.

The technology behind the belt is very simple and is, in fact, a combination between a seat belt and an airbag. When sensors detect a collision is occurring, a signal is sent to the belt's airbags to inflate. Unlike regular airbags, which inflate thanks to a heat-generating chemical reaction, the seat belts use cold compressed gas to do so.

Once the gas has been released through a buckle from a cylinder housed below the seat, each of the tubular, accordion folded airbags inflate and expand to cover over the wearer's torso and shoulder, providing better protection for a larger area of the body, as well as a tighter hold thanks to the increased size.

Once inflated, the airbag covers five times more of the occupant’s torso than the usual seat belt. This means more injuries are avoided thanks to the fact that the force used to hold the occupant in place is distributed to a larger area.

Most likely, the technology will be adopted at first by few manufacturers and implemented as an optional feature. In the not so distant future, however, we can see how this tech will become as mandatory as the seat belt itself.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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