Ford’s groundbreaking inflatable rear seatbelt will make its European debut in 2013 on the all-new Mondeo.
The inflatable seatbelt combines the qualities of a traditional seatbelt and an airbag, and was designed to reduce neck, head and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers, often children or older passengers. At an impact the belt rapidly expands and disperses crash forces across a body area, five times greater than that of a traditional seatbelt.
“We’ve tested the system extensively using our entire crash test dummy family and it offers extra protection over the standard rear seatbelt system,” said Joerg Doering, core engineering seatbelts engineer, Ford of Europe. “Bringing together the attributes of an airbag and a seatbelt is a significant development. This technology isn’t currently available in Europe.”
The inflatable rear seatbelt was first introduced in 2011 in the US on the 2011 Ford Explorer, and met an immediate success with 40% of the customers choosing this option. According to them the seatbelt is similar or even more comfortable in everyday use, as it feels padded and softer. The inflatable seatbelt is activated when an accident is detected by crash sensors. The gas which is compressed in a cylinder under the rear seat is forced through the buckle and into the belt. The entire process happens in less than 40 milliseconds.