• Automaker to offer intellectual property for inflatable safety belt system
  • Claims wider adoption of inflatable safety belts has the potential to make travel safer and mitigate injuries in other forms of seated-passenger transportation, including military vehicles, aircraft and boats
  • Introduced first production automobile rear inflatable safety belts in 2010, is expanding availability
Ford second row inflatable seatbelt made its debut in the Explorer SUV in 2010

Ford second row inflatable seatbelt made its debut in the Explorer SUV in 2010

Ford said it would offer its patented inflatable safety belt technology to other companies and industries, including rival automotive manufacturers.

The automaker first used the technology, supplied by Key Safety Systems, in the second row of its three row, seven seat Explorer SUV.

[The Lexus LFA built between Dec 2010 and 2012) was fitted with Takata-supplied inflatable belts but that car seated only two passengers - ed.]

According to Ford, the availability of licences may lead to the wider adoption of inflatable safety belts as other automakers seek to enhance passenger safety.

"The technology is potentially applicable to other forms of seated passenger transportation, including military use, and airborne passengers traveling by helicopter or airplane, and even for water travel."

Inflatable belts are fitted in a flat-bed business class suite design used in Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand aircraft. The belts enable passengers to recline their seats during take-off and landing in contrast to the 'seat backs upright' mandate on rival airlines.

"Ford’s longstanding commitment to democratising technology goes beyond our customers,” said Ford Global Technologies head Bill Coughlin.

"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."

In a vehicle crash, the inflatable safety belt deploys over a vehicle occupant’s torso and shoulder to help distribute crash forces 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 safety belt is currently available in Ford's Explorer, Flex, Fusion and upcoming 2015 F-150 truck line, as well as the Lincoln MKT and MKZ models - for outboard second-row seating positions.

Show the press release

FORD TO LICENSE PATENTED INFLATABLE SAFETY BELT TECHNOLOGY TO ENCOURAGE EXPANDED ADOPTION

  • Ford to offer intellectual property for inflatable safety belt system that enhances protection for seated passengers – especially children and the elderly
  • Wider adoption of inflatable safety belts has the potential to make travel safer and mitigate injuries in other forms of seated-passenger transportation, including military vehicles, aircraft and boats
  • Ford introduced the first-ever production automobile rear inflatable safety belts in 2010, and continues to expand availability on Ford and Lincoln brand vehicles

Ford Motor Company is offering its patented inflatable safety belt technology to other companies and industries, including competitive automotive manufacturers. The availability of licenses may lead to the wider adoption of inflatable safety belts as other automakers seek to enhance passenger safety. The technology is potentially applicable to other forms of seated-passenger transportation, including military use, and airborne passengers traveling by helicopter or airplane, and even for water travel.

"Ford’s longstanding commitment to democratizing 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.”

In everyday use, inflatable safety belts operate like conventional safety belts. In a crash, the inflatable safety belt deploys over a vehicle occupant’s torso and shoulder to help distribute crash forces 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 safety belt is 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.

Sharing technology
In addition to this technology, Ford makes many other patented technologies available for license. Some examples of available safety-related technologies are:

  • Roll Stability Control™ continuously monitors the vehicle’s movement and its relationship to the road surface using a suite of vehicle dynamic sensors including roll rate. RSC automatically applies brakes and/or reduces engine power to help the driver avoid a potential rollover situation
  • “Surveillance mode” technology for Ford Police Interceptor was introduced to warn and help protect law enforcement officers from unexpected approaches to their vehicle from the rear
  • Ford’s Belt-Minder® system was credited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with increasing the buckle-up rate by reminding drivers with a persistent chime to wear their safety belts
  • Ford’s driver alert warning system computes a driver’s “attention level” and displays it in the instrument cluster upon request. The system gauges the driver’s attention level based on statistical analysis of lane information collected by the forward-looking camera and the vehicle’s directional changes. If the calculated driver’s attention level falls below a certain threshold (potentially caused by a tired driver), visual and audible warnings are given

Original source: Ford