Mercedes-Benz will soon roll out a new active seat-belt buckle system for the rear seats of its top-shelf models, designed to improve access and safety.
In day-to-day use, the new active buckle will stay hidden in the rear seats, deploying only once the doors are opened. The button will also glow, cutting down on fumbling around in the dark.
Once you're secured, the buckle automatically retracts by 40 millimetres, reducing slack around the pelvis and thorax and providing firmer protection in sideways and lengthways directions.
Tied in with Merc's Pre-Safe preventative safety technology, the system works to tighen the belt by a further 80mm when a collision is about to occur.
The buckle also branches off at a lower point on the hip, reducing the risk of the occupant's pelvis pushing under the belt and minimising injury in an accident.
If an impact occurs, the buckle is designed to independently extend out of the seat once the vehicle has stopped moving and the doors are opened.
When it enters production, the active buckle system will replace the carmaker's existing pyrotechnic belt tensioning, which is triggered in the event of an impact rather than immediately before.
While Mercedes has yet to confirm which vehicles will feature the new system, it is likely that the upcoming S-Class - the flagship of the brand's passenger range - will be the first cab off the rank.