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Demonstration of the new seatbelt  (Source: Detroit Free Press)
First generation of Ford's inflatable seat belt could help save lives

U.S. automaker Ford announced it will introduce a new seatbelt airbag that will first find its way into automobiles starting with the 2011 Ford Explorer SUV.

The Ford 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 human chest.

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."

As automakers 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.

The new optional safety device will eventually be available for all Ford vehicles, but will have an additional cost auto buyers must pay.

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RE: Nicely done Ford!!
By Souka on 11/6/2009 11:37:49 AM , Rating: -1
Did you see what happened to Ford internally to make this "profit"?
massive layoffs, closed plants, cut pay to workers, unpaid furloughs/leave, oh...and retirement funds...they tapped them to.

Nothig is ever clear as it seems...

But anyhow... this article is about the inflata-belt (yes, I came up with the're reading it here first!)

I wonder if the belt is a drop in replacement item that ties in with the airbags? obviously there has to be some sort of "off" switch/mechanism for when baby seats are used.

A girlfriend of my past used to put the shoulder belt behind her as she didn't like how it cut across her would this cause the belt to propel her forward? uh oh!

I'm sure they'll have things liek this covered...but ya never know! :)

RE: Nicely done Ford!!
By nafhan on 11/6/2009 11:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
Did you see what happened to Ford internally to make this "profit"?
Didn't you notice other car companies doing many of the same things and still not making a profit? Keeping those plants open and paying people to make cars that were not selling would have killed the company causing everyone at Ford to lose their jobs.

RE: Nicely done Ford!!
By weskurtz0081 on 11/6/2009 11:49:53 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't that what companies are supposed to do when they are bloated? I don't understand the point you are trying to make with how Ford turned profitable.

They are making better products while trimming costs.... standard operating procedures in the "turn your company around" book.

RE: Nicely done Ford!!
By callmeroy on 11/6/2009 1:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
Do the business world a favor -- never strive to be a business owner.

Why is it always touted as "evil" or "bad" when a company lays off workers, closes locations, makes pay cuts -- in the name to return to solvency?

Its it happy times? Of course not....Is it something that everyone should be ok with? No - unless you are insane...

But it is business reality. Money doesn't magically appear - I think even a child quickly learns that lesson.

I'm not being a hypocrit hear either -- I lost a job that I was quite happy at because the company had to close our office. Was I ok with it -- of course not...but I understood.

Any board of directors worth their salt knows in times of trouble their mission is to save the company (you know that whole "live to fight another day" concept), you can't give people jobs, or make money for your shareholders if your company dies.

Its not genius stuff here -- this is business 101.

RE: Nicely done Ford!!
By ajoyner777 on 11/7/2009 1:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that sometimes a company has to lay off workers in troubled times, but what most people don't like is that most companies tend to trim off the fat in all the wrong places. They start by laying off all the blue collar workers. They then take the remaining workers, and expect them to quickly learn new jobs, and sometimes do twice the amount of work. What do you think happens to quality? It goes down the drain. Instead the layoff's should be spread equally across the board starting with management. Start trimming middle management (these guys make way more than a blue collar, and do we really need 20 guys sitting around sipping coffee with their thumb up their ass), and then after you have just enough management to run the place, start looking at what blue collar jobs you can eliminate.

Now I haven't been a blue collar worker for quite some time, but I have worked at several places that employ the above strategy, and I can't tell you how pissed off I get at companies that do this.

/rant off

RE: Nicely done Ford!!
By Totally on 11/6/2009 2:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
Your ex-girlfriend is an idiot. If a person doesn't intend to use something properly the manufacturer cant be held responsible. I might as well take them to court when I seriously get hurt for not wearing my safety belt.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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