Buckling up before you drive is a no-brainer. However, finding the darn buckle at night can be frustrating so Czech automaker, Škoda has come with a bit of a disco alternative.
Aiming to eliminate the hassle and faff of trying to belt up at night with the innovation of illuminated smart seat belt buckles, the Czech firm has been granted a worldwide patent for the new system that has been under development at the brand’s Simply Clever labs.
The new Škoda smart buckles feature a clear transparent button in place of the traditional red eject button.
The new button features a pair of multicolour RGB LEDs that operate in two modes. In standard mode with nobody in the seat, the LEDs glow white to show the passenger where the buckle is located at night. A Škoda-style crystalline pattern on the clear plastic button spreads the light to make the whole button glow.
The buckles can also be programmed to have an animated welcome sequence to make them even more noticeable in dark environments.
When a passenger sits in the seat, a weight sensor in the seat base recognises the presence of a person and the LED changes to red – indicating the occupant should put their seat belt on. This is a particularly useful feature for parents who can see immediately if their children have either forgotten to fasten their belt or have not engaged the buckle correctly. Once the buckle is engaged, the LED changes to green to signal a successful engagement and then back to white.