Ford introduces inflatable safety belt technology
Patented technology to be offered to other companies and industries in a bid to increase safety
Ford Motor Company has announced that it will offer its patented inflatable safety belt technology to other companies and industries, including competitive automotive manufacturers.
According to Ford, the technology could be applicable to other forms of seated-passenger transportation, including military use, helicopter or airplane and also water travel.
"Ford's longstanding commitment to democratising technology goes beyond our customers," said Bill Coughlin, president and CEO, Ford Global Technologies. "In this case, the wider adoption of inflatable safety belts has the potential to make travel safer and help mitigate passenger injuries - especially among children and the elderly."
The inflatable safety belts, which in everyday use operate like conventional safety belts are currently available on Ford Explorer, Flex, Fusion and the upcoming 2015 F-150, as well as Lincoln MKT and MKZ for outboard second-row seating positions.
In a crash, the inflatable safety belt deploys over the driver or passenger's torso and shoulder and covers up to five times more area than a traditional safety belt. Spreading the pressure over a larger area helps reduce pressure on the passenger's chest, and helps control head and neck motion.
The inflatable belt adds to the line of other patented technologies that have come from Ford including: Roll Stability Control, which continuously monitors the vehicle's movement and its relationship to the road surface; "Surveillance mode" technology for Ford Police Interceptor, which was introduced to warn and help protect law enforcement officers from unexpected approaches to their vehicle from the rear; Ford's Belt-Minder which reminds drivers to wear their safety belts by sounding a persistent chime; and Ford's driver alert warning system, which computes a driver's "attention level". If the calculated driver's attention level falls below a certain threshold (potentially caused by a tired driver), visual and audible warnings are given.