Beltbag: Clever cross between belt and airbag

For the first time, the new E-Class features beltbags for the passengers on the outer rear seats, as already introduced in the S-Class.
The seat belt is one of the most important inventions of the 20th century and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.  It has been optimised over the years with the addition of belt tensioners and belt force limiters. But its development is far from over: the belt strap can be widened with the introduction of the beltbag, an inflatable seat belt which further reduces the risk of injury in the event of an accident. Mercedes-Benz first introduced this innovation in the latest S-Class and will also be offering it for the passengers on the outer rear seats in the new E-Class.
The beltbag is used in exactly the same way as a conventional seat belt. As its name suggests, it combines seat belt and airbag components. The beltbag replaces the conventional belt strap in the 3-point seat belt system with an inflatable belt strap. It is woven from a single piece of material and features tear seams. The beltbag is deployed in the event of a severe frontal collision. A gas generator on the belt's end fitting inflates the belt strap to several times its normal width. This enlarges the belt strap area in the upper body region so that the force is distributed more widely than is the case with a conventional belt. This is of particular benefit to passengers whose bone structure is less flexible due to age or illness: another contribution to the Mercedes-Benz "Real Life Safety" philosophy.

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    The new E-Class - Intelligence and safety: Beltbag (german version)
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    The new E-Class - Intelligence and safety: Beltbag