The product of five years’ research by Ford, this polyamide inflatable seatbelt will launch on the European market next year, debuting on the rear seats of the Mondeo saloon.
It is the first in its class to offer this technology.
While seatbelts have saved countless lives over the decades, they have occasionally been known to cause serious injury, especially to children and older people.
This prompted Ford engineers to work on developing a new type of rear seatbelt fitted with a built-in airbag - a complex process done in close collaboration with specialised motor vehicle safety equipment supplier Key Safety Systems (KSS).
In a crash, the airbag built into the belt inflates in 40 milliseconds, spreading the crash forces over five times more area of the body than conventional seat belts and controlling head and neck motion to reduce injuries.
Ford’s system uses cold compressed gas from a cylinder housed below the seat, instead of the heat-generating chemical reaction that is typical of traditional airbag systems so the inflated belts do not feel warm on the wearer’s body.
The belt bag can be used by children, even with a booster seat.
The new Mondeo was officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October 2012.