Once the belt tongue is engaged in the seat belt buckle, the system subtly returns to the starting position where it is not in the way. Not, however, without tightening the seat belt first. This is a process every occupant should carry out themselves after fastening their seat belt, but hardly anybody does. In doing so, the seat-belt slack, the space between the seat belt and the body that especially in winter is always a few centimeters deep due to jackets or thick sweaters, is minimized whilst safety is maximized. After all, more freedom of movement in the seat belt also means more "wiggle room" in an accident.
But ZF's Active Buckle Lifter doesn't just take care of buckling up and tightening. Pre-safe systems have made us familiar with windows that close in critical situations or the short jolt to the belt to indicate a potentially threatening situation, as well as the seat belt tightening thanks to active retractors (hidden in the center pillar) when the driver brakes hard.
In situations such as these, the Active Buckle Lifter pulls back by an additional some 40 millimeters, thus intensifying the connection between occupants, seat belt and seat. If, for example, the active retractor and the Active Buckle Lifter work together, forward displacement of the head can be minimized by around 50 percent compared to standard seat belts, according to ZF. This means less strain on the body and, if it comes to the crunch, the airbag will be exactly where it needs to be.