For Immediate Release
Two types of 4-point safety belt and better protection for pedestrians
ROCKLEIGH, NJ -- January 8, 2001 -- Providing all the passengers with the best possible protection in an accident is one of the cornerstones of the Volvo Cars and Ford Motor Company safety philosophy. In this context, the Volvo Safety Concept Car (SCC) has several new features that may find their way into forthcoming car models, for instance improved roll-over protection, better side-impact protection, two prototypes of 4-point safety belts and a protection system for vulnerable road-users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The front seat backrests are reinforced with new structures integrated with the B-posts and roof, so as to enhance protection in a roll-over accident or side-impact collision.
The new structures also make it possible to utilise new types of safety belt and they promote even better safety belt geometry.
Two types of 4-point safety belt
In order to hold the car's occupants in place even more securely in the event of a roll-over accident or other multi-sequential crash scenario, different types of innovative safety belt design are being tested. Since the 3-point safety belt is already today the single most important safety-enhancing feature in a car, it is important to assess whether other types of restraining device, such as the 4-point harness, would provide an even higher safety level.
The Volvo SCC is therefore fitted with two different prototype 4-point safety harnesses that engineers at Volvo Cars, the Ford Research Laboratory and TRW are currently evaluating and developing jointly: a crossover harness (CrissCross - X4) and a brace-type system (Centre Buckle - V4).
The locks in both belt types are equipped with sensors that indicate if the belts are not properly locked in place.
Vertically adjustable rear seat
Child comfort in the rear seat is a matter of vital safety. One precondition dictating whether child safety equipment is actually used is that it must be comfortable and convenient - for children and parents alike. That is why the child-safety equipment in the Volvo SCC focuses as much on comfort and ease of use as it does on providing crash safety.
Today's generation of rear seats is designed for adults and modified to suit children. In the Volvo SCC, Volvo Cars approaches the matter from the opposite direction and presents a rear seat that is designed first and foremost for children, while functioning perfectly well for adults too.
Both the seats in the rear of the SCC have electrically adjustable seat cushions that can be varied vertically. This is done so that the rear seat can be altered to suit all those children who have outgrown rearward-facing child seats. The seat cushion height is adjusted steplessly to exactly match the child's height, and with due attention to belt geometry, comfort and forward visibility. In order to provide comfortable legroom for smaller children too, the forward section of the cushion can be conveniently folded out of the way.
Protection system for vulnerable road-users
A car's design has crucial significance for the severity of injuries that a pedestrian or cyclist might suffer in a collision.
The front of the Volvo SCC has a rounded design without any sharp edges. This is done so as to reduce the accident victim's rotation in a collision, thus reducing the force of impact. The bonnet itself has a crumple zone featuring a large empty space between engine and bonnet panel - so that the pedestrian does not hit any solid components concealed just beneath the panel.
An external airbag at the joint between the bonnet and windscreen prevents the victim's head from striking the windscreen glass and the A-post. The airbag is activated by a sensor at the front of the bonnet and it remains inflated for a few seconds to extend the protective effect. The inflated airbag covers only the lower part of the windscreen. This is sufficient to provide the required protective effect without obstructing the driver's field of vision.
For further information, please contact:
Bosse Handel, Volvo Car Corporation
Telephone: +46 708 20 40 64
Sara Tatchio, Ford Motor Company
Telephone: +1 313 322 7998
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