Auto Tech

Lexus LFA to feature new 'Airbelt,' a seat belt airbag

New seat belt airbag, or "Airbelt," will provide occupants added protection.

The SRS Seat Belt Airbag offers frontal and side impact protection. Takata Corp.

The Lexus LFA, which is available this month, will feature new inflatable seat belt technology.

The Takata "Airbelt," or SRS Seat Belt Airbag, is built into the webbing of the seat belt. It's designed to protect drivers and front-seat passengers in front- or side-impact collisions.

The SRS Seat Belt Airbag being fitted to the Lexus LFA. Lexus

From the looks of it, and a description of how it works, the airbag will fill up with air on impact. It looks strikingly similar to the inflatable rear seat belts revealed last summer from Ford for the 2011 Ford Explorer.

The belt expands directly to spread the shock-load over a wider area of the occupant's chest during front impact. And in a side impact, the belt inflates between the shoulder and head to reduce lateral head movement and provide protection from impact with the side window or colliding object, the company said in a press release.

Takata is the world's largest manufacturer of seat belts. No word yet on which other car models will also feature the new seat belt airbag.