Ford showing off rear inflatable seat belts

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Ford Canada is providing a peek inside its next generation of high-tech safety innovations including the world’s first production-ready rear inflatable seat belts set to debut on the redesigned Ford Explorer.

Set up at the Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa, Ford says experts will be on hand to demonstrate and explain a slew of other innovations.
 
“Research shows that the introduction of new vehicle safety technologies is critical in reducing the numbers of fatalities and injuries on Canada’s roads and highways,” says Jeff Walker, VP of CAA.  

Ford’s newest safety innovations include the “industry’s first rear inflatable seat belts.”

“Ford experts also will explain the next-generation driver-side airbag with enhanced chest protection technology, which will launch on the 2012 Ford Focus,” the company said in a release.
 
Ford calls its inflated belt the “next evolution in seat belt technology” and notes it combines some of the proven life-saving attributes of traditional seat belts and air bags to provide an added level of crash safety protection for rear seat occupants. 

Smart pressure sensors almost immediately determine the severity of the collision and deploy the inflatable belts’ airbags.
 
This seat belt helps distribute crash force energy across five times more of the occupant’s torso than a traditional belt. The expanded range of protection reduces risk of injury by diffusing crash pressure over a larger area, while providing additional support to the head and neck. 

The automaker says that after deployment, the belt remains inflated for several seconds before dispersing its air through the pores of the air bag.
 
Ford also says the all-new 2012 Ford Focus will launch exclusive airbag technologies that enhance protection for front seat occupants in the most common frontal and side crashes.

A new driver-side airbag uses a “reconfigured curve-shaped tether system” that pulls in the lower section to create a “pocket” to help lessen the impact of the airbag on the driver’s chest and ribs in frontal crashes.
 
This new airbag technology debuts as standard equipment on the all-new 2012 Ford Focus, which goes on sale early next year in North America. It will be rolled out to other Ford vehicles in the next few years.