News Release 1997  
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TechnologyJapanOctober 15, 1997
Honda Develops New SRS Airbag-Type Seatbelt, the "Air Belt"

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.

Air Belt

Air Belt

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

Air Belt in Action
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