It was reported last week that Mercedes-Benz will start equipping its cars with inflatable seatbelts for rear passengers. That being said, the German automaker will be the third car manufacturer to use the safety technology.
Ford Inflatable Seatbelts
Ford was the first company to introduce the inflatable seatbelts on its redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer. It also offered the safety technology on the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT. However, it charges users $200 for the option. The car manufacturer added that the redesigned Modeo sedan for Europe will also have the inflatable seatbelts.
Together with Ford, Lexus LFA was the second automaker to offer the inflatable seatbelt in 2010.
Inflatable Seatbelts on Mercedes-Benz
Called as “Beltbag,” Mercedes said that the inflatable rear seatbelts will be used on an upcoming luxury car. In relation to this, there were speculations that the car maker is likely to introduce the safety technology in the redesigned S-class sedan, which is said to be prepping up for a production next year.
Moreover, people also spotted that the sedan’s prototypes are now undergoing hot-weather testing. It is also likely that Mercedes-Benz will reveal the car early next year, possibly during the Detroit and Geneva auto shows.
More About Beltbags
The inflatable seatbelt is a combination of a small airbag with the rear belt’s shoulder strap. It is basically a multi-layered belt strap with Velcro seams.
When the car senses a crash, the belt’s airbag will inflate. Powered by a charged gas, it will then expand the width of the belt to almost three times its normal width, helping to spread the crash force over the wider area of the passenger’s torso. That being said, it will reduce the person’s chance of injury.
Although the Beltbag can be used as a conventional seatbelt, its strap design is different from the standard belt. The feature also received top marks on practical trials for being extremely comfortable to wear and for its extra-soft belt strap edge. As stated by Mercedes-Benz’s Head of Passive Safety and Vehicle Functions, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rodolfo Schöneburg:
Mercedes-Benz is pursuing its safety initiative in the rear of vehicles with the Beltbag. After all, the excellent standard of safety offered by Mercedes-Benz doesn’t just apply to all model series, but to all seats, too.
But unlike Ford, Mercedes said that only a frontal impact will trigger the belt to inflate. The car manufacturer added that they do not intend to add the inflatable seatbelts for front seats. That’s because front seat passengers are protected with front, side, and knee-bolster airbags.
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