ACES, i.e. Autonomous (Rolling supercomputer), Electric, Connected and, Shared mobility is one of the biggest trends in 2020. Chase towards autonomous driving will increase the focus on the interior of the automotive. Due to increasing autonomy, the passengers will have to focus less on the traffic and will have more time to spend on work, in-car entertainment, or just relaxation.
In Autonomous vehicles, the driver will become a rider which made the designers think about modular space, considering five essential usage scenarios such as lounge, office, cargo, communication, and family. For example, in office mode, you can rotate the two front seats to face the rear seat occupants. If you are not driving, you can change it to lounge mode where you can relax and enjoy the media on the go which was half done back at home.
Interiors will be the No.1 differentiator in the age of mobility services because the interiors will influence why someone picks a particular brand.
Currently, all the major interior parts are manufactured of plastic, but the OEMs are looking for a change in the material to enhance the comfort, look, and feel of the interior. Innovations are going on to introduce more natural fiber and carbon-reinforced polymer and process changes to achieve strength and weight reduction. Several manufacturers are developing multi-material systems incorporating CFRP.
Car sharing makes it economical and allows people to choose the vehicles they want. This demands for more durable and self-cleaning interiors, because mobility-services vehicles will have hundreds of users instead of four.
BMW is investing in adaptive materials to generate transformable surfaces tailored to human comfort. Liquid printed pneumatics developed by BMW recently combined liquid printing of silicon and soft robotics to create objects that can change shape and stiffness, almost instantaneously.
“ColorFuse” developed by a UK-based automotive parts manufacturer changes the game for coloring interior and exterior car parts at less cost and time.
Illuminated fabric surface, where textile integrated with light guides, create a differentiating feature with a high-quality effect that lower cost and weight than other possible backlit solutions.
Interior air quality
Many of the materials commonly used in car interiors are potentially able to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over time, reducing the air quality inside the vehicle, and sometimes impacting the health of the occupant. Automotive manufacturers are increasingly monitoring and striving to reduce the interior VOC emissions, over the lifetime of the vehicles.
The new frontier of interior lighting
With advances in technologies such as ADAS and the potential of self-driving cars, interior lighting design has rising importance, from both a mood and an entertainment perspective. The ability to modify the interior color and ambient lighting invoke the emotions of the driver, creating a greater emotional attachment within the owner. HUDs will become even more vital in autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, a few OEMs have utilized AI for better light and sound to communicate with the driver. Also, exterior lights are being used for communicating with pedestrians.
Smart Interior Surfaces are the next step in the evolution of driving. They seamlessly integrate interaction with controls, display of information, lighting, and heating into unified surfaces. Displays and controls are invisible when inactive, reducing the surface to a pure design shape. Controls or information come alive when needed, via backlight or the activation of a display.
The future is heavily dependent on the fusion of electronics, software, artificial intelligence, trim componentry, and aesthetics. These technologies will converge in multi-function cabin surfaces, a very fluid design language, where the display is combined with the overall presentation of the door, instrument panel, floor console, and all one smooth, seamless organic surface.
Most of the functions will work on touchscreens. Faurecia’s is working on dash-top “pillar to pillar” displays that will help alleviate driver distraction. Touchscreens will get larger, HMI controls will be on the door panel and window glass also. Initiatives are underway to integrate controls into cabin trim and panels, ushering in a new era of holistically designed smart surfaces.
Suppliers are developing force-sensing technology to embed controls in cabin surfaces and trim, or beneath glass screens. Many are managed by software and artificial intelligence, appearing only when necessary. These features will be available long before high-level automation.
Intelligent seats offer customization and privacy with a similar concept applying to heating and cooling. With personalized thermal management, every occupant will be seated in an individual climate zone. These systems will be particularly useful in electric vehicles (EVs), where maintaining climate control for the entire cabin is less efficient. There will be heavy work on HMI hand rest, apart from audio, video, and other controls such as biometric sensors for monitoring biological signals, heart and breathing rates, skin conductivity, oxygen level and even blood pressure and heart rate variability.
In summary, the automotive industry is on the verge of an unprecedented transformation characterized by autonomous driving, electrification, and an ever-increasing demand for personalized products that enhance the comfort and wellbeing of occupants.