Smart solutions for automotive interiors: multi-layer innovation
Consumer-centric solutions for safety and comfort in vehicle interiors
A study into consumer preference with regards to vehicle interiors involving over 900 participants showed that thermal comfort is a top three priority in France, China and the United States. Reducing time to sensation and time to comfort with little to no impact on cost are key challenges in temperature control functionalities. These two factors are also crucial to saving energy, especially in battery electric vehicles.
In the realm of safety, Faurecia already offers smart actuation technologies with safety features fully integrated into cockpit systems. Consumer studies have shown that synchronizing lighting features with safety alerts strengthens the warning and enhances the driver’s peace of mind.
The starting point for developing and synchronizing these technologies is always the user. Ensuring these features respond to or anticipate needs, are simple to use or upgrade, and give the right information at the right time are essential to advancing human-centric technological solutions in mobility. Through intuitive HMI across the vehicle interior, users can manage a range of personalized features that enhance comfort and safety.
Enhancing thermal comfort and saving energy through integrated solutions
Faurecia engineers have developed a range of radiant panel solutions which can be integrated into various interiors components (such as the instrument panel, door panel and center console). As well as reducing time to sensation and time to comfort, the radiant panels’ benefits go beyond improvements in thermal management.
Although 80% of journeys involve only a single occupant, conventional thermal management systems operate across the entire vehicle at once, consuming more energy than necessary. The radiant panel system allows for greater flexibility in thermal management, increasing energy efficiency and lowering associated CO2 emissions compared to conventional counterparts.
Controlled through HMI and using the fewest number of buttons and dials possible, the innovative solutions developed by Faurecia Interiors reduce time to sensation and time to comfort, with little to no impact on the cost of production. Surrounding vehicle occupants with up to eight heating panels creates a “cocoon effect” in each seat, enhancing overall comfort. As well as improvements in the user experience, the radiant panel solutions are designed to use up to 30% less energy for comfort, and thus have lower CO2 emissions in their use phase. Integrated into battery electric vehicles, this saving in energy spent on comfort translates into an extension in range of up to 5% at -10°C.
The first generation of radiant panels are ready for serial production, with an SOP set for June 2021 on a premium German electric SUV. Subsequent generations, which offer broader possibilities in industrial processes and materials, are in the innovation stages.
Using decorative lighting to advance safety
Consumer studies have shown that information about safety can be lacking, and thus become a pain point in difficult driving conditions. In particular, users report that safety features underdeliver on clear and precise information related to lane departure warnings, automatic lane centering, and blind spot monitoring.
In light of this clear need, Faurecia engineers have integrated safety alerts with decorative lighting, marrying functional and aesthetic features to enhance the user experience inside the cockpit. Users reported the extra safety warning and peace of mind for the driver as the main benefits of the solution. Lighting features and thermal management can also be integrated, with the lighting placed between the skin and the radiant panel – users again reported a greater sense of thermal comfort and peace of mind. Both the comfort and safety integration features registered between 80 and 90% usage intention.
Synchronizing aesthetic and functional features allows for OEM and end-user customization as well as mass market and premium applications. These solutions can be integrated in vehicle interiors with any of the covers and trim offered by Faurecia. Several European OEMs have expressed interest in Faurecia’s advanced safety features, which will be integrated into the next generations of their premium and mass-market vehicles.
Through its Interiors Business Group, Faurecia develops and produces complete systems for vehicle interiors that play a key role in the integration of the techno-bricks that constitute the Cockpit of the Future. These human-centric solutions are changing how occupants interact with vehicle interiors, and driving the next generation of user experiences.