|Tokyo, October 15, 1997 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced today a technological breakthrough opening the way toward the development of a new safety system called the "Air Belt". This new system inflates the shoulder part of the seatbelt to maintain the passenger safely in place during an accident.
Honda's record on the development and marketing of safety systems goes back a long way. Seatbelts, which are known to be the single most effective safety system, have been the object of particular attention. In Japan, Honda was the first in adding pre-tensioner systems to traditional seatbelts to further control body movement upon impact. The company was also the first Japanese maker to introduce ELR-type seatbelts in the domestic market with an eye towards increased comfort and thus use of the seatbelt.
In recent years, Honda's efforts have concentrated on ways to reduce the pressure imposed on the thoracic cage and other injuries during an accident. These efforts culminate today with the introduction of the present "Air Belt".
The "Air Belt" system is composed of an inflating seatbelt shoulder, an inflator and the control unit. Upon impact the control unit sends a signal to initiate inflation of the seatbelt shoulder.
Main Characteristics of the System
- partially doubles as a seatbelt pre-tensioner by reducing seatbelt slack upon inflation.
- serves as a cushion, reducing head movement and thus injuries.
- reduces pressure on the thoracic cage upon impact.
- absorbs kinetic energy as gases are evacuated through ventilation holes in the following deflation process.
By thus providing advantages similar to that of a seatbelt/SRS airbag combination, this "Air Belt" system opens up a new avenue in passenger protection.
Finally, the compactness of this system easily allows its installation in the back seats as well, thus providing rear passengers with the same advantages as the front seat passengers.
Honda is now adding the finishing touches to this system prior to market introduction in the near future.
Air Belt in Action
|Distinctive features of the MonPal ML100
Simple Controls and a Comfortable Ride
- Forward and reverse motions are easily controlled by a switch. The vehicle is started by pressing down on a lever, and stopped by releasing this lever.
- Forward motion is continuously variable from 2-to-6 km/h; reverse motion is fixed at 2 km/h. A large speed-control knob is provided for easy operation.
- A built-in battery charger allows for convenient battery charging by connection to a regular household 100 V power outlet with cable and plug.
- Indicator lamps light or flash to alert the driver to warnings, protection, fault diagnosis and other vehicle information. The battery power indicator includes a buzzer to make sure the driver knows when battery power is low.
- The large-diameter, soft rear tires are designed to cushion shocks from bumps and irregular road surfaces, and maintain a smooth and comfortable ride.
- The seat allows for easy mounting and dismounting, and provides ample support and comfort for the hips and lower back.
- MonPal ML100 has a low, flat and wide floor with a mat that provides excellent grip for safe and easy mounting and dismounting.
- The drive lever is installed in the optimal position for operation by elderly drivers, and provides a comfortable operational feel during continuous driving.
- The drive lever is available in left- and right-hand configurations.
- The rear-wheel tread is narrow compared with that of the front to maintain clearance from obstacles and prevent scraping and snagging (rearward tapering design).
- A speed limiter automatically restricts vehicle speed to 4 km/h if the driver puts a sudden turn on the handlebars at above 4 km/h. This assures smooth deceleration for turning.
- If the driver needs to stop suddenly and grips the drive lever too hard instead of releasing it, the vehicle automatically comes to an emergency stop. This contributes substantially to the safety of the MonPal ML100.
- Good visibility in the dark is also a major feature of the ML100. The vehicle is equipped with a large, wide-angle headlight, as well as big direction indicators and reflectors.
- The ML100 is prepared to handle careless operation of the drive lever, with a system that prevents sudden start-off in the event of faulty drive lever operation.
- A warning buzzer sounds if the driver encounters a slope of more than 10-degrees.
- A large front basket is mounted on the vehicle body, providing space for baggage.
||4-wheel, electric-powered wheelchair
|Dimensions: Length x Width x Height
||1,190 x 680 x 1,080 (mm)
|Curb weight (batteries excluded)
||94 kg (62 kg)
|Motor (30-min rated output)
||DC 24 V 360 W x 1
|Batteries (rated at 5 hours between recharges)
||12 V 35 AH x 2 (sealed)
||Built-in microprocessor-controlled recharger
(with temperature compensator)
||Direct 2-rear-wheel drive system
||Dynamo braking-electromagnetic brake -
manually operated (mechanical) brake
||Front-wheel steering by handlebars
||Continuously variable control by drive lever
|Driver's seat dimensions
(width x depth x height of seat back)
|490 x 400 x 340 mm
||2-6km/h continuously variable
||2 km/h fixed speed
|Slope climbing capability
|Maximum continuous running distance
||25 km (6 km/h, flat road)
|Minimum turning radius
|Step height clearance capability
|Groove width clearance capability
|Maximum driver weight (including baggage)
||100 kg (including baggage)
- Performance values in the above table assume the use of new, fully charged batteries, a driver's weight of 75 kg, and up to 70% battery discharge.
- Basic performance complies with the JIS T9203 standard.
- The ML100 is compliant with the K98-6-type standard for traffic prescribed by the Japan National Committee for Public Safety.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Power Product Operations, Domestic Sales Dept.
3-15-1 Sensui, Asaka City, Saitama Prefecture
TEL: 048 (468) 9010
FAX: 048 (468) 9016
The MonPal ML100 is scheduled to be exhibited at Welfare '99, the 2nd international health and welfare industry exhibition to be held at the International Convention Center in Nagoya from May 28 through May 30.