Apple Car will reinvent the seatbelt - here's how

Apple patent drawing
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Car project continues to trundle on despite reports of various management and engineer changes in recent years, and who knows whether anything will ever come of the so-called Project Titan. But project or not, the patents keep on coming.

The latest is related to one of the least exciting but arguably most important parts of a car — seatbelts. And you just knew that if Apple was going to reinvent the humble seatbelt, it wasn't going to just tweak it and call it a day. Instead, Apple's seatbelt patent is an entirely different beast.

While the part that is designed to actually keep occupants safe will largely remain the same as we're used to, it seems Apple Car seatbelts will go one step further by using a display of sorts to pass information to the person sitting in the seat.

Seatbelt alert system

Apple Car seatbelt drawing

(Image credit: Apple)

The new patent was first spotted by Patently Apple and describes what appears to be a next-generation seatbelt system that will display light through small holes to inform people of a given situation or status.

In short, the seatbelt could light up red to alert people that it isn't correctly fastened, for example. Or green if things are all hooked up correctly.

The patent describes holes that are so small that people are unlikely to spot them during normal use, although we have to imagine that anyone getting too close will see them.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a provision for some sort of display that may be used to control such lighting systems, although it isn't clear how useful that would be to people. 

Now that the Vision Pro headset is here the Apple Car is one of the last remaining rumors that is yet to actually ship. Apple's headphones were long-rumored before turning into AirPods Max, and its item tracker was the same before we got AirTags

Will we finally, one day, see a car driving around with an Apple logo on it? You can be sure it'll have the coolest seatbelts around if we do.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.