Stuttgart, Germany – Mercedes-Benz is developing a new active seatbelt buckle for the rear seats, which will help keep passengers secured in crashes.

The new buckle will be used in production vehicles shortly, the company said. The buckle uses an electric motor to automatically extend and retract the belt, reducing slack over the pelvis and thorax.

The seatbelt is also easier to fasten, as it emerges from the upholstery when the rear doors are opened and has an illuminated insertion slot. The buckles are integrated into the car’s Pre-Safe system, tightening up slack during critical driving situations or when the car detects critical distances from other objects.

The new electric belts complement the pyrotechnic belt tensioning that has been standard on all outer rear seats for many years, which is triggered in the event of an actual impact.

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