Volvo is renowned as a carmaker, but the company also does child car seats. In fact, it is responsible for the very first rear-facing child car seat prototype, which was unveiled in a Volvo PV544. Fifty years after debuting this remarkable invention, Volvo offers yet another groundbreaking product designed to guarantee the safety of the smallest vehicle occupants.
The Swedish automaker recently revealed a new concept for an inflatable child seat that is lightweight and easy to carry. The product was designed to be an alternative to conventional car seats, which are heavier and bulkier.
Lawrence Abele is the Design Manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles. He is also the concept’s designer. He took inspiration from his own kids to create the product.
“For me child safety is always the number one 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,” Abele said in a statement.
Like all Volvo products, the innovative child car seat concept was created with safety as the main consideration. Though light, it is designed to offer utmost protection for the youngest members of the family. It is made from a material called drop-stitch fabric, which was chosen for its durability.
Drop-stitch fabric was originally developed by the military to be used on inflatable airplanes, and is commonly used in boating. According to Maria Hansson, Project Manager at Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles, the material proves to be strong when inflated due to high internal pressure.
A remarkable feature of the concept is its own pump system, which is incorporated into the design. It allows the seat to inflate in just under 40 seconds. The integrated pump is also that which enables the seat to quickly deflate into a backpack. Inflation can be done through remote control, thanks to the seat’s built-in Bluetooth connection.
What probably makes the concept most impressive is its weight. Considering the safety it guarantees and the features it possess, the seat weighs less than 5 kg. This is half the weight of most child car seats in the market today.
Because the child car seat is light and takes little space when not in use, Volvo points out that it affords other possibilities. In the event the grandparents or friends will be taking care of the kids for a while, Volvo’s product will serve as a mobile car seat. The seat also makes traveling by public transit easier, since it can be carried to and used in taxis and buses.
Volvo has always been in the forefront of child car seat innovation. Since its 1964 prototype, the company has delivered several ingenious products for child car safety. In 1972, it introduced the first rear-facing child seat, that which provides neck support for the child. Volvo then released the booster cushion in 1976 and the first integrated booster cushion in 1990. Seven years ago, it launched the two-staged booster cushions in the Volvo V70 estate.
Photo credit: media.volvocars.com