Skoda likes to make a bit deal out of its ‘Simply Clever’ features. The reality is a lot of them aren’t especially groundbreaking (think snazzy luggage nets), but some are ingenious enough to garner a respectful doff of the metaphorical cap.
The company’s neat windscreen washer tank lid - which doubles as a funnel - is one such innovation, and this week, the Czech VW Group subsidiary has revealed another inspired development.
It’s an illuminated seat belt buckle, for which Skoda has just been granted a worldwide patent. Once the seat’s weight sensor is triggered, a white light will change to red and remain that colour until the seatbelt is clipped in. Once the occupant has done so, it’ll briefly turn green to acknowledge a successful buckling, before switching back to white.
It’s this that separates the Skoda’s setup from similar ideas used by Audi and Mercedes. In the case of the two German manufacturers, the buckles are lit but don’t change colour and aren’t linked to the seat sensors.
The main purpose is to stop people having to fumble about in the dark to find the buckle, and the system can even be programmed to give a ‘welcome’ lighting sequence to make location even easier. The technology is also handy for parents checking their kids have definitely belted up properly, Skoda’s keen to point out.
Last year, Skoda filed for 94 patents, more than any other Czech company, it says. Many don’t make production, and this might be one of them - a spokesperson from the firm’s UK press team told CT that the idea is “just a patent at this stage.”