Skoda has been granted a patent for the world’s first illuminated seatbelt buckle.
These “smart buckles” feature a clear transparent button in place of the usual red eject button. It incorporates a pair of multi-colour RGB LEDs that operate in two modes.
By default, the LEDs glow white, helping passengers to see where the buckles are at night. A Skoda-style crystalline pattern on the buckle spreads the light to make the whole button glow.
The Skoda smart buckles can even be programmed to have an animated welcome sequence, which will make them even more noticeable at night or in dark conditions.
When a passenger sits in the seat, the weight sensor in the base recognises this, and the LED changes to red. This reminds the occupant to fasten the seatbelt.
Skoda says that this feature will be useful to parents, who can immediately see if their kids have fastened their seatbelts. Once the buckle is engaged, the LED changes to green to signal a successful engagement. Following this, the LED goes back to white.
Last year, Skoda Auto filed 94 individual patent applications – more than any other company in the Czech Republic.
The carmaker’s list of protected innovations also includes carpet mats made of hollow fibre fabric, which are easy to clean and on which dirt is hardly visible.
Another patented invention is a flexible cargo snake that allows boxes, crates and other objects to be positioned more securely in the boot alongside luggage.
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