Mercedes-Benz engineers have no boundaries when it comes to improving the safety of their passengers, and why should there be. No feature can be too small when it comes ones safety, especially those loved ones riding in the back seat.
That is why Mercedes has developed, and is preparing for production of, the first active seat belt buckle. The buckle has a motor built in which allows the buckle to extend and retract to ensure the best fit around the passengers waist.
Ing Rodolfo Schoneburg, head of safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars said this function, up until now, has only been available on front seat belts
“We aim to offer a high standard of safety not only in all model series, but also in all seats,” Schoneburg said.
“The active seatbelt buckle unlocks the full potential of the on-board restraint systems.”
Testing the new active buckles proved to be more of a challenge then regular crash tests because with the regular crash test dummies engineers were not able to accurately measure what the impacts would be on a real human. Mercedes opted to use virtual human models instead.
Dr. Hakan Ipek, expert for virtual human models at Mercedes-Benz said: “All the crucial biological features of humans – joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones – can only be simulated in very rough terms with dummies.
“Some seated positions, such as when a rear passenger is dozing and the belt does not pass over the pelvis in the correct manner, simply cannot be recreated with a dummy,” he adds.
The Active Seat Belt Buckle Explained
Once the door is opened the belt buckle illuminates and extends 70 millimeters from the base. After the tongue of the belt is inserted, the buckle retracts 40mm to tighten and reduce any extra slack. This ensures that the belt is correctly fitted around the passengers waist and pelvis area.
Mercedes says there are many benefits with the new active belt buckle like increased percentage of people who actually use their seat belt. Illumination makes it easier for kids to buckle up, especially in the dark.
The active seat belt is now apart of the Pre-Safe preventive safety system Mercedes employs which means that when the vehicle senses a collision is seconds away, the new active seat belt retracts an additional 40 mm, creating 80mm total. This positions and prepares the passenger’s body for the crash.
Last but not least, after an accident and the vehicle has come to a rest, the belt buckle extends once again and the buckle is illuminated when a door is opened to help emergency first responders at the accident.