They share close quarters and both have a passion for safety, so it was only a matter of time before the seat belt and the airbag got together. The seatbelt-airbag lovechild showed up recently in Ford’s 2011 Explorer and is now making an appearance on Mercedes-Benz’s drawing board. The German car company has announced plans to start production on its Beltbag to include it on an unnamed model.
The Beltbag is multi-layered with Velcro seams and will be used on to protect riders in the back seat. It’s worn like a regular seatbelt, and inflates when the car’s crash sensor detects frontal impact. It expands to three times its normal size — big enough to protect the wearer’s ribcage by distributing the impact’s force. Since front seat riders are already protected by dash-installed airbags, side airbags were the most common way (aside from standard seatbelts) to protect rear seat passengers. Vehicles equipped with beltbags or similar devices will be able to offer another level of protection, if an accident happens. Edited from Inflatable Seatbelt Could Protect Passengers