With the release of the 2001 XK Series, Jaguar Cars becomes the first automaker in the world to offer an advanced safety system using ultrasonic sensing technology to provide occupant position data for managing airbag deployment. Jaguar's Adaptive Restraint Technology System (ARTS) is fitted as standard equipment on all XK Series sports cars and is a key component of the car's enhanced safety features for the 2001 model year.

Operating in concert with new head-and-thorax side-impact airbags, located in the backrests of each front seat, and state of the art safety belt system, ARTS establishes a new standard for intelligent occupant protection technology.

"By taking on the challenge to develop this technology and bring it to market, Jaguar further establishes its leadership position as a technological innovator," says Mike O'Driscoll, president of Jaguar North America. "The ARTS technology embodies Jaguar's philosophy of delivering high performance in every area of our product execution."

ARTS Matches the Action to the Situation

The all-new Adaptive Restraint Technology System uses ultrasonic sensing technology to monitor the position of the front passenger, while a separate array of sensors detects the front passenger's seated weight, the position of the driver in relation to the steering wheel, the usage of safety belts and, in the event of a collision, the severity of the impact.

Armed with this information, ARTS regulates the deployment of the airbags for each front seat occupant to a level appropriate to the specific characteristics of an impact. The system is designed to help further reduce the risk of injury to occupants related to inappropriate airbag deployment, especially for smaller front-seat occupants. An added benefit is the reduction of repair costs associated with the number of airbag deployments, particularly when the passenger seat is unoccupied.

Ultrasonic Occupant Sensing System -- A World First

The Jaguar XK Series is the only production car in the world to employ ultrasonic occupant sensing technology. Four ultrasonic sensors, located in the A-pillar, B-pillar and the new roof console determine the presence and position of the front-seat passenger's head and upper torso with respect to the passenger airbag deployment door.

If the passenger is too close to the dashboard, a warning light will illuminate to indicate that the passenger airbag is inactive and would not deploy in the event of an impact. As soon as the passenger moves far enough away, within milliseconds the airbag becomes active again and the light goes out. The ultrasonic sensors primarily monitor the position of the passenger's head and torso, rather than the arms and hands, as the proximity of the head and torso to the airbag deployment door is the crucial factor in the systems' decision regarding deployment.

While the ultrasonic sensors constantly monitor the presence and position of the front seat passenger, a weight sensor in the front passenger seat detects the presence and approximate seated weight of the occupant -- another important factor in determining whether, and to what extent, the airbag should be deployed. If the passenger seat is empty, the passenger airbag is designed to not deploy.

For the driver, an electronic sensor in the seat track measures the distance of the driver's seat from the steering wheel; and sensors in the driver and front passenger safety belt buckles tell the system whether or not the occupants are wearing safety belts. Meanwhile, crash sensors at the front cross-member panel and at the sides of the car gauge the severity of an impact.

Each sensor feeds information to the system's central processor, which governs the use of safety belt pretensioners and the deployment of dual-stage front airbags. The front airbags are inflated either at a higher power or lower power, in accordance with occupant data and the severity of the impact. Decisions can be computed in as little as 10 milliseconds. The decision-making ability of ARTS was developed using Artificial Neural Network technology, an advanced programming technique, and involved more than a half million possible impact scenarios.

In conjunction with the development of ARTS, a number of modifications have been made to the XK Series body shell. These changes, which include reinforced front side members, provide added rigidity and structural integrity as well as enabling the crash sensors to be positioned so that an impact is detected as quickly and accurately as possible.

The key features of ARTS are:

  • The world's first application of ultrasonic occupant sensing - for front passenger
  • Front passenger seat weight sensor
  • Driver's seat track position sensor
  • Front safety belt usage sensors
  • Electronic front- and side-impact sensors
  • Driver and passenger front airbags with dual level inflation
  • Front seat-mounted side airbags, providing enhanced protection for the head and rib cage in moderate to severe side impacts
  • Front safety belt load-limiters and pretensioners
  • Star-fold pattern on driver's airbag, featuring radial deployment to reduce the risk of injury to drivers seated close to the wheel