Volvo Gave Away the Most Important Design They Ever Patented


Volvo Gave Away the Most Important Design They Ever Patented.

In 1958, people rarely buckled up. While race car drivers and fighter pilots wore harnesses, the seat belts available in cars simply banded across one’s lap. In crashes, they frequently did more harm than good. The sudden pressure put on the abdomen during a crash caused internal injuries.

At the time, Volvo was already pushing its brand as a safety conscious automaker. Its CEO, whose relative had recently died in a car crash, decided to hire Nils Bohlin, a man who had previously designed ejector seats for fighter jets, as chief safety engineer (a new position).

Bohlin turned his attention to seat belts. He had worked with four point harnesses in fighter jets, but doubted that consumers would use such a bulky contraption. “It was just a matter of finding a solution that was simple, effective and could be put on conveniently with one hand,” he later toldthe New York Times.

In 1959, Volvo delivered its first car that used Bohlin’s answer, a three point seat belt that can be seen in the above image and every car sold today. Volvo received a patent for the design in 1962, but rather than hoard it, they gave it to the world. Volvo shared the design, allowed any carmaker to use it, and sent Bohlin on a world tour to encourage its use. 

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 10,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython 2019!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

Maker Business — The sustainability of open source software

Wearables — The final environment

Electronics — Voltage drop from cables

Biohacking — Three DIY Photobioreactor Designs for Algae Growing

Python for Microcontrollers — Python snakes its way to Codecademy, beta 7, games, calculators, turning 6 and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !


  1. A really good thing to have done. A rather different attitude to the petty patent wars we see these days.

  2. Love my volvos. All three!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.