system operates by placing a small cylinder of cold compressed gas
that sits underneath the rear seats, with an inflatable bag located
in the seatbelts. After a vehicle impact occurs, this new
system is designed to spread the force of impact over more parts of
the human body, which helps reduce the amount of impact felt by the
Although airbags are now common safety devices in
all modern vehicles, Ford is poised to become the first automaker to
introduce the inflatable rear seatbelts -- they'll launch next fall,
when the 2011 Explorer is made available.
"It's hard to
know for sure ahead of time, but this
airbag has tremendous benefit by increasing the surface area (of
the seat belt), and that allows them to restrain the torso better on
a frail body," University of Michigan trauma surgeon Dr. Stewart
Wang told The Detroit News. "I think that the
potential benefits are quite substantial."
look for new ways to attract car buyers, Ford has been quick to
introduce in-car technology and additional features unavailable in
some baseline and midrange vehicles from competing companies.
new optional safety device will eventually be available for all Ford
vehicles, but will have an additional cost auto buyers must pay.