Active seatbelt reduces severity of injuries

July 24, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automotive supplier Continental has developed a function to tighten seatbelts immediately prior to an accident, which can reduce the severity of possible injuries by up to 15 %.

Safety systems like seatbelts and airbags are fully effective if occupants are in the optimal sitting position before the impact. Continental's Active Emergency Belt Control function brings the occupant into this position by tightening the seatbelts and holding the person in that optimal position. Seatbelt tightening occurs by means of a reversible electro-mechanical belt tensioner. In order to provide added safety, the car's windows and sunroof shut automatically so that objects cannot penetrate into the car’s interior in the course of an accident.

For this function, the driving status of the vehicle is analyzed in the Safety Control Unit (SCU) with the help of vehicle dynamics sensors and signals from surrounding sensors. As soon as the system detects that the driver is slamming on the brakes, that the car is skidding, that a low-speed accident is about to occur, or that a front-end or rear-end collision is imminent, the Active Emergency Belt Control activates the integrated safety functions prior to impact.

Centralized triggering of the front-seat electro-mechanical seatbelt tensioners via the Safety Control Unit permits low-cost system architecture in cars. Integrating the feature into the safety control unit moreover, makes it possible to introduce functions in mid-class cars that have been common only in premium automobiles up till now. Continental is expanding its safety strategy ContiGuard by adding Active Emergency Belt Control. ContiGuard integrates active and passive safety systems, which work more effectively together, due to interlinking safety technologies with their related surrounding sensors, driving dynamics sensors and the evaluation of the driver behavior.

The Active Emergency Belt Control safety function received the Euro NCAP Advanced Award last year and is already available in two compact cars produced by major German automobile manufacturers.

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