The Escape Belt looks like the traditional female latch that plugs into a car’s buckle. When water hits the interior, a salt pill inside the latch dissolves, causing a hammer to release the male section of the belt to free the occupant. It’s the same technology used by airlines in self-inflating life jackets, and while you’ll still need to open the door, popping the seat belt won’t be an issue.
Fijen TMLS, the Dutch manufacturer that created the product, says that the cartridge needs replacement every few years, but that the system is robust enough that it won’t activate from a spilled Fresca. The mechanism costs a little under $40 for each unit and the company is pursuing automotive supplier partnerships to bring it to market.