An active material based releasable fastener system for a vehicle carrier generally comprises a loop portion and a hook portion. A selected one of the hook portion or the loop portion is disposed on a surface of the carrier whereas an other selected one of the hook portion and the loop portion is disposed on a contact surface on which the carrier is disposed. When the loop portion and the hook portion are pressed together they interlock to form a releasable engagement being relatively resistant to shear and pull forces and weak in peel strength forces. The hook portion comprises a plurality of hook elements comprised of an active material. An activation signal applied to the active material causes a change in shape orientation, flexural modulus property, or a combination thereof to the hook elements that effectively reduces the shear and/or pull off forces in the releasable engagement. Disengagement of the releasable fastener system provides separation of the hook elements from the loop material under controlled conditions. In an alternative embodiment, each respective surface comprises a composite of the hook portion and the loop portion. Also disclosed is a process of operating the releasable fastener system for vehicle carriers.
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