Inflatable seatbelts for rear passengers will soon be seen on Mercedes-Benz models. Mercedes would only be the second automaker to feature this technology. The first was Ford. This belt will be used on an upcoming luxury car from Mercedes, believed to be the redesigned S-class sedan. This model is set to start production in 2013.
Prototypes of this model were spied while being subjected to hot-weather testing. It’s likely to debut in early 2013, either in Geneva or in Detroit. The inflatable rear belts were first seen on the redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer but they’re now also used on the Ford Flex and the Lincoln MKT wagons. This option costs about $200.
Ford said that this technology will be used on the redesigned Mondeo sedan for Europe. How it works is that a small airbag is incorporated on the rear belts' shoulder strap. The airbag in this belt inflates when a crash is sensed. The belt gets wider due to the expanded bag, aiding in distributing crash forces over a bigger area of the passenger's torso and lessening the risk of injuries.
Mercedes said that the inflatable belts won’t be used on front seats since these passengers are already have front, side and, in maybe even knee-bolster airbags to protect them. "Mercedes-Benz is pursuing its safety initiative in the rear of vehicles with the Beltbag," comments Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rodolfo Schöneburg, Head of Passive Safety and Vehicle Functions at Mercedes-Benz Cars. "After all, the excellent standard of safety offered by Mercedes-Benz doesn't just apply to all model series, but to all seats, too."