For those who have travelled in the rear seats of older cars, you would be familiar with the seat belt buckle “disappearing act” where the buckle would slide down into the gap between the seats. Although nowadays most modern cars don’t have something like the above but I have encountered some new car models that still have this problem. And now, Mercedes Benz has developed a system that tackles the abovementioned problem.
Mercedes Benz has once again continued in its traditions of pioneering safety technologies by introducing their new active seat belt buckle. When a passenger opens the rear doors, the active seat belt buckle would emerge or pop-out from the upholstery and on top of that, it also reduces the belt slack once the passenger straps it on.
Let’s see how it functions. When the rear doors are opened, an electric motor extends the buckle by 70mm out and at the same time the buckle will also illuminate. According to Mercedes Benz, they hope that his will attract the passenger and prompts them to belt up. The illumination also helps passengers to belt up in dark conditions. Once the metal belt tongue is inserted into the buckle, the electric motor will retract the buckle 40mm to take up the slack and also ensure that the seat belt fits correctly onto the passenger’s pelvis area.
The new seat belt system is also integrated with the company’s Pre-Safe preventative safety system. During a critical driving situation, a reversible tensioning of up to 80mm is applied to the buckle. This will securely restrain the passenger in case there is an accident. The buckle also branches out at a lower point so as to reduce the risk of the pelvis pushing through the belt. According to the company, they have designed the belt buckle using detailed virtual human models.
The German automaker has also considered about making the task of unbuckling the belt much easier especially during emergency situations. Provided that the electrical motor is still functioning, the buckle will extend out and illuminate when emergency rescue personnel opens the rear doors. Another way the above would also function is when the system has detected an accident crash and the vehicle is stationary.
Mercedes Benz intends to use the new active seat belt system in their luxury models shortly and this new system will replace the company’s pyrotechnic belt tensioning system which has been included these past few years in all Mercedes Benz models as a standard.
Photo credit: Motor Authority
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