Skoda has patented the world’s first light-up seat belt buckle, designed to make it easier to strap in safely and properly.
The system uses LEDs to illuminate the buckle in one of three colours depending on its status and can even be programmed with an animated sequence to make it easier to spot.
In standard mode with nobody in the seat, the LEDs in the transparent button glow white to show the passenger where the buckle is located at night. When a passenger sits in the seat, a weight sensor in the seat base recognises their presence and the LED changes to red to indicate that the belt isn’t fastened. Once the buckle is engaged, the LED changes to green to show it is connected properly then turns back to white.
Skoda says the idea will be particularly useful for parents who can check at a glance if their children have buckled up properly before they set off.
Skoda is famous for its “Simply Clever” innovations, such as umbrellas stored in the doors, grips in the cup holders to make opening bottles easier and a boot light that doubles as a removable LED torch.
The light-up belt buckle is the latest in a long series of patents for handy in-car innovations from the brand. In 2019, it filed 94 individual patent applications for other in-car additions, including carpet mats made of hollow fibre fabric, which are particularly easy to clean and on which dirt is hardly visible, and a flexible cargo “snake” that allows boxes, crates and other objects to be positioned more securely in the boot alongside luggage.