Ford Motor Co. has begun offering its patented inflatable safety belt technology to other companies and industries, including competitive automotive manufacturers, the automaker announced.
In everyday use, inflatable safety belts operate like conventional safety belts. During a crash, the inflatable safety belt deploys over a vehicle occupant’s torso and shoulder to help distribute crash forces up to five times more area than a traditional safety belt. Spreading the pressure over a larger area helps reduce pressure on the passenger’s chest, and also helps control head and neck motion.
The inflatable safety belt is currently available on the Ford Explorer, Flex, Fusion and the upcoming 2015 F-150, as well as Lincoln MKT and MKZ for outboard second-row seating positions.
To view a video showing the inflatable safety belt, click on the photo or link above.
In addition to this technology, Ford makes many other patented technologies available for license. Examples include Roll Stability Control, whichcontinuously monitors the vehicle’s movement and its relationship to the road surface using a suite of vehicle dynamic sensors. RSC can automatically apply brakes or reduce engine power to help the driver avoid a potential rollover situation.
Additionally, NHTSA and IIHS have credited Ford’s Belt-Minder system with increasing the buckle-up rate by reminding drivers with a persistent chime to wear their safety belts.
Ford’s driver alert warning system computes a driver’s attention level and displays it in the instrument cluster upon request. The system gauges the driver’s attention level based on statistical analysis of lane information collected by the forward-looking camera and the vehicle’s directional changes. If the calculated driver’s attention level falls below a certain threshold (potentially caused by a tired driver), visual and audible warnings are given.
These and other technologies are available through Ford’s corporate Technology Licensing Portal.
Ford also purchased additional inflatable safety belt patents from United Technologies Corp. to help ensure that this technology could be broadly licensed. This effort was made easier with the help of AutoHarvest Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the adoption of new technologies by providing unprecedented access to innovators and businesses.
Ford is a member of the AutoHarvest Innovation Advisory Council along with other leaders in the automotive industry, government and academic research. For more information, click here.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet