The new technology can help automakers meet the more demanding requirements of the NCAP plan until 2030.
Modern seat belts can already work in different phases – in the event of an imminent collision, they are tightened around the body of the car crew to reduce the slack in the belt. In the event that an impact actually occurs, the body then slows down in a controlled manner and moves towards the airbag. It works reliably, but it is already clear that NCAP tests will require even better protection for the vehicle’s occupants.
“The demands on the adaptability of safety systems are increasing in the expectations of end customers as well as in the NCAP test criteria. Our new belt system makes it easier for vehicle manufacturers to meet the increased requirements and reduces the consequences of accidents by adapting even better to the passenger.” said Rudolf Stark, head of ZF’s passive safety technology division.
Many seat belt systems are already equipped with a two-stage Adjustable Load Limiter (SLL), for greater flexibility ZF will now offer a Multi-Switchable Load Limiter (MSLL). It can better change the restraining forces during an accident and react individually to people with different body types thanks to the appropriate regulation of the force in the belts.
For optimal functioning, the system must receive appropriate information – for example, from internal cameras, belt extension sensors (which detects body circumference and also estimates weight and body type) or from the car’s external sensors. From them, it can receive data about the direction from which the impact is coming. According to ZF, the system should offer small and light people a better level of individual protection in medium-severe accidents (up to 35 km/h), older people due to the different structure of the skeleton depending on age, and also heavier people in accidents with overloading (over 56 km/h ).