Swedish carmaker's inflatable child seat unveiled

Volvo introduced the world's first two-stage integrated booster cushion in 2007.

This fabric is very strong when inflated as it can be brought to a very high internal pressure. Maria Hansson, Volvo With Mother's Day on May 11, it's time to celebrate the one car safety device that parents love but also loathe - the bulky and cumbersome car seat.

Volvo Car Group has just unveiled the revolutionary inflatable child seat concept - and no, this isn't a belated April Fools joke.

The rear-facing child seat has been designed to accommodate children up to age four and inflates in less than 40 seconds and deflates with an integrated pump.


The car seat weighs less than 5kg, half the weight of a contemporary seat, and it is constantly online via Bluetooth enabling a wide range of features, including remote-controlled inflation.

When deflated its dimensions are 45cm x 50cm x 20cm packed into a convenient carry-case.

Lawrence Abele, design manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Centre in Los Angeles and the designer behind the new seat, had his two children in mind while designing the concept seat.

"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," he said.

"For many, travelling with young children is a challenge; any assistance to simplify the parents' life with young children is a great thing.

"The goal was to design a seat as safe, or safer, than anything on the market right now but second to that I want everyone, including kids to be exposed to great design every day."

It is created using a unique material called drop-stitch fabric.

"This fabric is very strong when inflated as it can be brought to a very high internal pressure," said project manager Maria Hansson at the Los Angeles Volvo Monitoring and Concept Centre.

"It is a quite common technology in the boating industry and was originally developed by the military in an effort to develop inflatable airplanes," she said.

Volvo NZ is confident that if the inflatable car seat goes into production, it will be available in New Zealand.

The car seat is also timely as Volvo is celebrating 50 years of child safety, with the world's first rear-facing child seat prototype in a PV544 in 1964.

Over those years, the Swedish company has also created the first integrated booster cushion, the first rearward-facing seat for ISOFIX and the two-stage integrated booster cushions were introduced in the Volvo V70 station wagon in 2007.