ALFDORF, Germany --- TRW Automotive GmbH has developed the Active Buckle Lifter (ABL) to make fastening seat belts easier. The feature is particularly intended to assist the elderly and people with mobility challenges, and also can help reduce belt slack in dynamic driving situations.
The Active Buckle Lifter raises the buckle to make it easier for the occupant to locate and fasten the belt and -- if required -- can retract the buckle helping to reduce belt slack on the occupant in situations of high dynamics such as a hard braking maneuver. At all other times it remains in the normal position like any other buckle, TRW said.
"The Active Buckle Lifter can increase the comfort of the occupants when fastening their seat belts before the ride," said Uwe Class, senior engineering manager, active restraint systems. "In addition, in dynamic driving situations the retract movement of the buckle reduces belt slack around the pelvis and chest leading to an enhanced coupling of the occupant to the vehicle. This may help to keep the occupant in a better and more controlled seating position in dynamic driving situations such as cornering or braking. A better seating position can help in the event of an accident."
When the vehicle door is opened, the corresponding buckle rises approximately 100mm, putting it within easier reach of occupants. The buckle then returns back to its normal position once fastened. It optionally can lift again when occupants need to unfasten their seat belts.