ALFDORF, Germany, March 7, 2012 — TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. today announced the first production contract for its Active Buckle Lifter (ABL) seat belt technology. The contract is with a major European vehicle manufacturer and will start production in 2013. The system will be launched on the rear seats, but is also available for front seat applications.
TRW’s ABL offers three main functions. It simplifies locating and fastening the belt by lifting the buckle into a convenient position once the passenger is seated; helps to reduce seat belt slack in dynamic driving situations; and by helping to reduce slack in critical driving situations, the ABL can contribute to reducing the possibility of out-of-position occupants.
Uwe Class, senior engineering manager, active restraint systems, said: “The ABL can help drivers and passengers to fasten their seat belts easier by raising the buckle by up to 70mm – bringing it to a more convenient location if the buckle is difficult to access, for example due to a larger or higher center console on the front seats or deep buckle positions on the rear seats. It can also help those with mobility difficulties – minimizing the twisting or leaning action required to locate the buckle. Once fastened, the buckle then returns to its normal position.
“As well as improving driver comfort, the ABL offers support in dynamic driving situations such as hard braking or quickly driven curves. Using data from the on-board active safety sensors, it can retract the buckle which can reduce belt slack around the pelvis and chest. This may help to keep the occupant in the intended, and more controlled seating position.”
The safety function of the ABL is activated during critical situations such as panic braking or loss of stability. The seat belt can be quickly tightened, by up to 80mm – helping to maintain proper occupant position for airbag deployment if a crash is deemed to be imminent.