DEARBORN, Mich.—Ford Motor Co. has announced plans to license its patented inflatable seat belt technology to competing automakers in a move it says will enhance industry-wide passenger safety.
“Ford’s longstanding commitment to democratizing technology goes beyond our customers,” Bill Coughlin, president and CEO, of global technologies with Ford, said in a statement.
“In this case, the wider adoption of inflatable safety belts has the potential to make travel safer and help mitigate passenger injuries—especially among children and the elderly.”
First launched in 2010, inflatable safety belts operate like conventional seat belts but deploys during a vehicle crash, distributing crash forces up to fives times more area compared to traditional alternatives.
Spreading the pressure over a larger area helps reduce pressure on the passenger’s chest, and helps control head and neck motion.
According to Ford, the technology is also applicable to other forms of transportation, including in military applications, and aboard airplanes, helicopters and boats.
Inflatable seat belts are available in the Ford Explorer and Flex sport utilities and the Fusion sedan and the 2015 F-150 pickup, as well as the Lincoln MKT and MKZ models.