Volvo is a brand famously associated with safety, so let’s hope its latest effort doesn’t turn out to be a load of hot air: the Swedish brand has come up with a concept for an inflatable children’s car seat.
Called the Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept, this does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a child seat that instead of being made of rigid material can be deflated and folded away for easy carriage when not required.
Find out how much a used Volvo costs on Auto Trader
Noting that “children’s car seats are historically bulky, hard to move and tedious to mount,” Volvo says its new rear-facing inflatable alternative weighs just 5kg – half the weight of an equivalent conventional model.
The concept was the work of the design manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles, Lawrence Abele, who drew experience from travelling with two toddlers:
“For me child safety is always the number one priority, and when we live abroad with two toddlers we had to haul bulky child seats through airports and then into taxis. For many, travelling with young children is a challenge; any assistance to simplify the parents’ life with young children is a great thing.”
The concept seat, which can easily be carried in a backpack, inflates in just 40 seconds using a built-in “silent and efficient” pump. This can also deflate the chair again after use.
It also has built-in Bluetooth with “a wide range of features”, including the ability to receive a remote inflation command.
The Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept is made from a special “drop-stitch” fabric that is very strong once inflated, thanks to its ability to withstand very high internal pressure.
The material is currently used in the boating industry, but was “originally developed by the military in an effort to develop inflatable airplanes,” according to project manager, Maria Hansson.
The idea is only at the prototype stage so far, but marks the 50th anniversary of Volvo Car Group’s dedication to child safety, beginning with the world’s first rear-facing child seat prototype in 1964.
Along the way, the firm has also developed the booster seat – in no less than three guises: stand-alone (1976), built-in (1990) and two-stage (2007) – and the world’s first rear-facing ISOFIX child seat (1999).
That’s quite a track record. But what do you think – would you trust your child to an inflatable car seat?