For some reason, Apple has just filed a patent to reinvent the seatbelt buckle by adding new technologies to it. This comes as a surprise since we haven’t heard any progress regarding the development of the Apple Car recently. We can imagine that these filed patents could either only be for in-house innovations, or the company could also be looking to supply to other carmakers in the future. Here’s the scoop.
Apple’s patented design looks quite typical at first. It has the seatbelt buckle with the “PUSH” button to unlatch the mechanism. However, various components are designed to display illumination, with the housing itself containing holes through “opaque structures.” Simply put, there will be indicator lights on these seatbelts to cater to various situations.
So what could these situations be? Well, for one, it could be lit up with a certain color when there is no passenger and no seatbelt attached. Another configuration could be when there IS a passenger who isn’t strapped into their seat, and finally, for a passenger safely buckled up. While it may seem as common sense to others that you aren’t wearing your seatbelt buckle, it could be a smart way to ensure that children are safely strapped in.
It’s an alternative to the “seatbelt indicators” we often see on the dashboard in nicer vehicles, and an additional warning for the seatbelt chime we hear when we move along without buckling up.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a company like Apple try to modernize seatbelt buckle technology. Three years ago, car brand Skoda patented translucent seatbelt buckles that change color depending on the occupancy of the seat in question. It was a step ahead of efforts by carmakers like Mercedes and Audi who simply lit up the buckles to make them easier to find.
We wouldn’t mind if Apple made their seatbelt buckle illumination design a part of the car’s cabin ambient lighting. It would definitely fulfill both roles from a safety and aesthetic standpoint. Also, if they developed this technology further, then we can imagine other carmakers contracting them to make seatbelt buckles specifically for their vehicles.