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March 22, 2012

Ford Set to Introduce Inflatable 2nd Row Seat Belts in Explorer 2.0 GTDi

Photo courtesy of Ford Press
The All-New Ford Explorer has been reinvented, raising the bar on SUV safety by combining technologies to help avoid crashes with those that set new standards of protection in the event of one.

The comprehensive safety story of the All-New Ford Explorer adds new features including the world’s first inflatable second-row seat belts.

“The All-New Explorer  2.0L GTDi XLT combines – all at once – our best technologies to not only help prevent a crash, but to help prevent injuries to occupants when a crash is unavoidable,” said Vinay Piparsania, vice president for Marketing and Sales, Ford Group Philippines. “The use of high-strength steels such as boron in the Explorer body structure also offers a greater level of protection, while meeting the most stringent roof crush standards.”

Explorer showcases Ford’s commitment to safety by offering passengers an unprecedented array of active and passive safety technologies.
World’s first inflatable rear seat belts

The All-New Explorer 2.0L GTDi XLT offers a Ford technology unique in the automotive industry in the first-ever inflatable second-row seat belts. Rear seat passengers – often children or mature passengers – can be more vulnerable to head, chest and neck injuries, thus the advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce such injuries.

Advances in airbag inflation and seat belt construction methods have enabled Ford and its suppliers to develop inflatable seat belts that are designed to deploy over a vehicle occupant’s torso and shoulder in 40 milliseconds in the event of a crash.

“Ford’s rear inflatable seat belt technology will enhance safety for rear seat passengers of all ages, especially for young children who are more vulnerable in crashes,” said Piparsania. “This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership, including the most top safety ratings of any automaker.”

Vehicle safety sensors determine the severity of the collision in the blink of an eye and deploy the inflatable belts’ airbags. Each belt’s tubular airbag inflates with cold compressed gas, which flows through a specially designed buckle from a cylinder housed below the seat.

In the event of a frontal or side crash, the inflatable belt’s increased diameter more effectively holds the occupant in the appropriate seating position, helping to reduce the risk of injury.

The inflated belt helps distribute crash force energy across five times more of the occupant’s torso than a traditional belt, which expands its range of protection and reduces risk of injury by diffusing crash pressure over a larger area, while providing additional support to the head and neck. After deployment, the belt remains inflated for several seconds before dispersing its air through the pores of the airbag.

Rear inflatable seat belts demonstrate Ford’s ongoing commitment to occupant safety. The Ford inflatable belts spread impact forces across five times more area than conventional seat belts. This reduces pressure on the chest while helping to control head and neck motion.

Belt comfort also should help increase usage rates. Studies show inflatable belts to be more comfortable for passengers due to padding.

Explorer reduces distraction, warns, intercedes

The Ford SYNC® hands-free, voice-activated integrated communications and entertainment system combines with MyFord Touch driver connect technology to keep drivers focused on driving with their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.

The All-New Explorer also comes equipped with a host of technologies to help prevent crashes – from parking lot fender benders to high-speed collisions – by warning drivers of crash potential. These technologies include options such as:
  • Collision warning with brake support
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Dynamic avoidance technologies include AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with RSC and the world’s first application of Curve Control, a new Ford feature designed to enhance vehicle braking in instances of excessive speed in turning or curve conditions.

Collision warning with brake support and Curve Control actually apply the brakes when these systems sense situation irregularity, helping the driver to avoid an incident by bringing the vehicle back in safe control.

Ford-exclusive MyKey allows parents to preset limits on vehicle speed and audio system volume levels. In addition, MyKey prevents deactivation of dynamic control systems such as AdvanceTrac and enables parents to set speed warnings. MyKey is a critical factor in minimization and prevention of young driver distraction and risk.

Ford’s Belt-Minder provides a persistent warning when drivers and front seat passengers fail to buckle seat belts.

Structural safety and crash protection

Explorer features a unibody configuration body structure. Nearly half of this stiff shell is comprised of high-strength steels, such as boron. A-pillars, rocker panels and front beams are boron, for both increased strength and reduced weight. In addition, this structure was designed and developed to exceed stringent rollover standards.

The initial component is the high-strength boron front beam that absorbs crash forces on impact. These forces then transfer to the shotgun rails, developed to divert impact to the A-pillars and the stiff roof structure. Shotgun rails constitute the second component within the Trinity structure. The third element is an engine cradle designed to break away and drop downward in the event of a frontal impact.

When a crash becomes unavoidable, Explorer relies on a class-leading complement of airbags to protect occupants. Two front and two side second-generation airbags are joined by a Safety Canopy consisting of side curtain airbags for all three rows of passenger seating. Personal Safety System™ seat belts feature pretensioners and an energy management system with adjustable height in the first row.

Outboard second-row seat locations include the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for attaching child safety seats.

The All-New Ford Explorer 2.0L GTDi XLT with EcoBoost will be on display at the 2012 Manila International Auto Show on March 29 to April 1, 2012 at World Trade Center.

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