DEARBORN, MI – Ford’s rear inflatable seat belts have been named a Breakthrough Product Award winner by Popular Mechanics, part of the magazine’s seventh annual Breakthrough Awards.

Ford's rear inflatable seat belts during a crash test.

Ford's rear inflatable seat belts during a crash test.

Lead developer Srini Sundararajan accepted the honor at a ceremony Oct. 10 in New York City. The development of the technology was a team effort, Sundararajan said, and he’s proud that effort is being recognized.

“Ford’s goal is to develop innovative safety technologies that give our customers more peace of mind, so it is a great honor to receive the Breakthrough Technology Award,” said Sundararajan, safety technical leader for Ford Research and Innovation. “I thank Popular Mechanics for recognizing the contributions of a number of dedicated engineers from Ford.”

The rear inflatable seat belts are designed to provide additional protection for rear seat occupants. They combine the attributes of traditional seat belts and airbags to help provide an added level of crash safety protection for rear seat occupants. To view video of the inflatable rear seat belt, click here

The advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries. Ford introduced the inflatable rear seat belts in the 2011 Explorer. The vehicle already has seen strong demand from customers for its safety and driver-assist technologies, Ford said.