Ford to offer rear inflatable seat belts in Ford Flex, Lincoln image

Ford Motor Co on Wednesday said that from the next summer, the company will offer the just-launched rear inflatable seat belts on the Ford Flex and on Lincoln vehicles.

According to a recent study made by Ford, approximately 40 percent of Explorer buyers are parents who are ordering the rear inflatable belts, said Amy Marentic, Car and Crossover Group marketing manager.

“The addition of inflatable belts enhances Ford’s well-earned reputation of adding technology that enables safety,” she said. “This is especially important to customers of products such as Explorer, which often serve large families who are looking for that extra peace of mind found in technology like inflatable belts.”

“This advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Expanding the rollout of this technology is another example of Ford leading the way to enhance vehicle safety for our customers.”

The special system – the inflatable belts operate like conventional seat belts, so you will not notice any major difference. Moreover, many of the subjects that tested the inflatable belts found them to be more comfortable than a conventional belt because they feel padded and softer.

In case of an event, safety sensors determine the severity of the collision and deploy the inflatable belt’s airbag. Each belt’s tubular airbag inflates with cold compressed gas, which flows through a specially designed 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 Innovation.