Volvo Unveils Revolutionary Inflatable Child Seat Concept, Explores Future of Child Protection
ROCKLEIGH, N. J. (April 14, 2014) -Children’s car seats are historically bulky, hard to move and tedious to mount. This is why Volvo Cars has designed a lightweight and inflatable rear-facing child seat concept using groundbreaking technology. The seat is safe, easy to pack and carry, and will enable parents to use it in many situations not practical with the seats on the market today.
Lawrence Abele, design manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles, and the designer behind the new seat, had his two children in mind while designing the concept: “For me child safety is always the No. 1 priority and when we lived abroad with two toddlers we had to haul bulky child seats through airports and then into taxis. For many, traveling with young children is a challenge. Any assistance to simplify the parents’ life with young children is a great thing.”
The concept presents new opportunities, for example grandparents and friends who take care of your kids and need an ultra-mobile child seat. It is also very convenient when travelling by taxi, rental car or bus, situations where you historically had to rely on the safety measures available.
Inflates in 40 seconds
The seat has an innovative pump system that is silent and efficient in its construction. The seat inflates in less than 40 seconds and deflates with an integrated pump. The total weight of the seat less than 11 pounds, half the weight of a contemporary seat, and it is constantly online via Bluetooth, enabling a wide range of features, including remote controlled inflation. It fits into a weekend bag together with other necessities for your child.
Unique drop-stitch fabrics
“We used a unique material called drop-stitch fabric when creating the prototype of the seat. This fabric is very strong when inflated as it can be brought to a very high internal pressure. It is a quite common technology in the boating industry and was originally developed by the military in an effort to develop inflatable airplanes,” says Maria Hansson, project manager at Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles.
The Inflatable Child Seat Concept faces the rear of the car, as it is the safest way for children to travel. A child's neck is not as strong as an adult's because it is still developing physically. In a frontal impact collision, the head of a forward-facing car occupant is thrown forward inducing great strain on the neck. Children, therefore, require special restraints and need to face the rear of the vehicle until at least 3 or 4 years of age.
Volvo Car Group Celebrates 50 years of Dedication to Child Safety
ROCKLEIGH, N. J. (April 14, 2014) - 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Volvo Car Group’s (Volvo Cars) dedication to protecting the smallest and most vulnerable car occupants. This groundbreaking work started with the world’s first rear-facing child seat prototype in a PV544 back in 1964 – and the latest innovation is an Inflatable Child Seat Concept that is easily tucked away in a small bag when not in use.
The differences in anatomy between children and adults form the foundation for Volvo Cars’ child safety developments both in terms of car integrated features and accessories. Children are not small versions of adults, which is why children need special restraints when travelling in cars.
“The basic principle remains the same as 50 years ago. The smallest children must always travel facing the rear until the age of 3 or 4. Older children should use a booster cushion or booster seat that makes sure that the lap belt is correctly fitted over the pelvis,” says Professor Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Center.
Here are some of the most important milestones in Volvo Cars’ child safety history:
1964 First child seat prototype
Inspired by how astronauts travel rearwards, Bertil Aldman, medical doctor and subsequently professor in traffic safety at Chalmers University of Technology, developed the very first child seat prototype. Volvo was closely involved in the development and testing was carried out in a PV544.
1967 Reversible front passenger seat with special child backrest
The first child seat to be sold to customers was created by turning the front passenger seat around. Adding a padded backrest with straps made sure that the rearward-facing child was kept in place. The solution was sold as an accessory for the recently introduced Volvo Amazon.
1972 Volvo’s first rear-facing child seat
Rearward-facing child seats are designed to support the neck and help spread the force of a frontal impact over a larger area. Frontal impacts are the most frequent and usually the most severe impact situation.
1976 The booster cushion – a world first from Volvo
Children from 3 or 4 years and up travel facing forward using the standard safety belt with a belt-positioning booster cushion. Volvo Cars’ policy is that children should use a booster cushion until they are 140 centimeters tall and 10 years old. When using a booster cushion, the child runs about a 75 percent lower risk of being injured compared to being unrestrained.
1990 World’s first integrated booster cushion
The first integrated booster cushion was an ingenious fold down and out version in the rear center position in the Volvo 960. Double integrated pop-up booster cushions in the outer rear seats were introduced in the Volvo S40 in 1995.
1999 World’s first rear-facing seat for ISOFIX
The world-first solution for the standardized, car-integrated ISOFIX fittings was actually two rearward-facing seats in one. Both seats – one for infants and one for toddlers up to four years of age – could be fitted in the same ISOFIX frame.
2007 World’s first two-stage integrated booster cushion
Two-stage integrated booster cushions were introduced in the Volvo V70 estate. The two-stage version, with two sitting heights, enables a better belt fit regardless of the child’s size. Child adapted safety belt load limiters were also fitted.
2014 Inflatable Child Seat Concept
The innovation, which is still in the development stage, is easy to install and can be tucked away in a small bag when not in use. This means that the child seat can be easily transferred between cars and the bag even fits in carry-on luggage when flying or travelling.
Volvo Car Torslanda celebrates 50 years of success
- April 24 sees the inauguration of the new body plant at Volvo Car Torslanda
- The inauguration will take place on the exact same date as the original plant was inaugurated 50 years earlier, in 1964
- Throughout the year Volvo Cars will focus attention on the plant’s role back then, today and in the future
1964 was a milestone for Sweden’s automotive industry. That was the year Volvo Cars opened its gates at the Torslanda plant, marking the biggest industrial investment in Sweden’s history.
With a capacity for building up to 200,000 cars a year, the plant raised the bar for the development of new models, production volumes and manufacturing technology.
Over a period of five decades various classic models have left the factory gates, models that have defined what the Volvo brand stands for, with a focus on safety, environmental care, and quality.
Today, 50 years later, Volvo Car Torslanda is more in focus than ever before.
The opening of the new body plant, Torslanda TA3, together with the multi-billion investment in the SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform constitutes the basis for scalable and flexible development and the production of future model generations. First off the mark with the new platform is the all-new XC90, which will be launched later in 2014.
During the year Volvo Cars will highlight 50 years of development, team spirit and innovation in a variety of ways.
The celebrations will get under way on April 24, exactly 50 years after the original plant’s inauguration. Invited guests will attend the opening ceremony of the new bodybuilding plant and be treated to an historic exhibition, visits to the plant and visions of the future.