Mercedes improves crash safety with smart seat belts
Many car leasing shoppers browse through attractive models while comparing attributes like speed, efficiency and price. However, Mercedes-Benz is touting a new feature for its future models - high-tech seat belts.
The automaker has nearly completed development of an active seat belt buckle that improves crash safety by snugly cuddling vehicle passengers as they drive and increasing tension in the split seconds before a crash.
When people first climb into the car, an electric motor automatically extends the buckle about 3 inches up from the seat level and lights an illuminated insertion slot to avoid fumbling for the connection in the dark.
Once riders are strapped in, the system withdraws the buckle to its original position and takes extra slack out of the seat belt fit. Finally, the smart buckles use Mercedes' Pre-Safe crash avoidance system to detect the earliest signs of a crash and instantly retract the buckle an additional inch-and-a-half to firmly cradle people in their seats.
The luxury manufacturer has not yet specified which models will feature the new buckling system, but industry experts expect it will first emerge in the next-generation S-Class.
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