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Volvo is Designing the Seat belt of the Future

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A white Volvo SUV
This could become your bed on the go
Photo: Vuaxford 

It’s no secret that self-driving cars are on their way, with major names in the automotive industry making sizeable investments in research and development. Among the countless questions raised by the prospect of replacing the traditional function-over-form layout is the future of the seat belt.

If you’ve seen or read anything about Volvo’s fully electric and automated concept car, the 360c, then you know that the interior is nothing like what we’ve come to expect from a vehicle. The space is considerably more open, and more closely resembles a posh personal cabin on a luxury airline than anything car-like. Volvo has said that one of the benefits of this design is that, rather than flying to a destination overnight (paying for a ticket and burning gallons upon gallons of jet fuel), passengers can tell their car where to go, then tuck in for a good night’s sleep.

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As nice as that sounds, it does pose some complications, the most pressing being that a traditional seat belt would be next to useless for a prone passenger. Volvo’s engineers, who have something of a history remixing the seat belt, believe they’ve found a solution: a safety blanket.

In an interview with The Independent, Malin Ekholm, Volvo’s head of safety, stated that the blanket would have several straps woven throughout its body “loosely attached” to the car’s structure, which would secure the passenger in the event of a collision.

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“It’s about how we make sure we keep you safe in a new environment,” Ekholm said. “The safety blanket is a first step. It might not be the final answer but is the beginning of a journey.”

Without a visual point of reference it’s difficult to figure out how exactly the safety blanket would work, but it’s definitely an outside the box approach well-suited to a world where cars can drive themselves.

Source: The Independent