Earlier this week TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. revealed a new and innovative seat belt concept at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. TRW produced their concept with in collaboration with Rinspeed. The new technology features a “webbing catcher,” instead of a seat belt buckle and tongue.
“Our new seat belt concept is another example of how TRW continues to develop innovative technology and enhance the safety of passengers beyond conventional passenger and commercial vehicles,” said Swen Schaub, senior manager, Engineering Strategy and Communication, in a recent interview.
With the new system, buckling will now be semi-automatic. The seat belt concept is being introduced on the microMAX vehicle concept that is designed to travel short distances and features unconventional upright seats. Rather than a traditional buckle and tongue where the driver needs to physically couple the belt, this concept “allows people to get in the vehicle and the webbing enfolds around them rather than them needing to buckle up,” said John Wilkerson, TRW Senior Communications Manager, when asked about the new concept.
The webbing catcher is the seat belt material that goes around the body from the belt and shoulder positions, actually ‘catching’ the body and enfolding it, rather than a person physically taking the belt and wrapping it around them when buckling. Although this is just a concept at the moment, it is in future plans for city cars that would be ideal for individuals in urban environments. However, the concept “would not likely be implemented until the latter half of this decade or later,” commented Wilkerson.