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Hyundai Mobis starts commercial production of advanced active seat belts

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's leading car parts supplier Hyundai Mobis on Thursday said it has begun commercial production of advanced active seatbelts (ASB) that will allow the company to compete effectively in the global market.

The production marks the first time that a South Korean company has made a foray into the new product that aims to minimize injury to vehicle occupants in the event of an accident. In the past, companies such as Hyundai Motor Co. bought the seatbelts from TRW Automotive, a German firm well known in the automotive safety industry.

The seatbelts work by automatically tightening and strapping a person to his or her seat if on-board sensors anticipate a crash, or when a car is undergoing rapid deceleration or tight turns.

The company, which is part of the Hyundai Motor Group, said the new seatbelts will be used on the 2015 model year Hyundai Genesis premium sedan, which will go on sale in South Korea within the month.

It will also equip Hyundai and Kia Motors Corp. cars with the seatbelt, which will be sold in foreign markets in the future.

"The new ASBs use 40 percent less parts than foreign-made rivals, are easier to make and less likely to malfunction," a company source said. He added that the new models make use of a single electronic control unit to activate both front seat ASB systems. Other models use two separate control units for the front seat driver and passenger seatbelts.

The company said that by using the ASBs alongside other automotive safety systems, such as airbags, they can greatly improve the safety of people inside a car.

There have been published reports that show ASBs can reduce neck injury by 64 percent and cut overall physical injury by 10-20 percent in the event of an accident.

The company said that with only a handful of companies able to mass produce the high-tech seatbelts, there would be demand for the ASBs in foreign markets. Hyundai Mobis has produced over 50 million seatbelt systems since 2002.

Hyundai Mobis said the new seatbelt system will initially only be used on full-sized cars, but will also be developed for mid- and compact-sized vehicles.

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