Mega trends such as autonomous driving, connectivity or also electromobility are electrifying the automotive industry - literally! And of one thing we can be sure: The way we drive our cars will change drastically in the coming years and decades. It will be primarily in the interior where these changes will be most noticeably felt.
In conjunction with connectivity solutions, it will be the automated and particularly the driverless cars which are going to turn our driving experience into something totally new. The vision of the car manufacturers and the automotive suppliers looks something like this: The driver gives the instruction of the end destination to the car's language assistant and then leans back and relaxes. The steering wheel moves to the centre console and makes room for the pull-out table which the driver can use to work on his laptop. Then while the car is travelling autonomously, the driver can devote his time to other activities.
New seating concepts
By means of swivel seats – another vision of the future - the seating concept in the vehicle's interior can be transformed. The old arrangement of two seats in the front and one bench-style back seat then becomes history. Passengers can choose whether the car interior functions as a conference room or as a kind of lounge where they can sit facing each other.
It is true that, up until now, all this has just been a dream of the future. But we are at a point now where test vehicles are allowed to take over control of the steering wheel. However, a driver must still always be on board so that he can step in during an emergency. Should a critical situation arise, the system prompts the driver to take over control of the steering.
Surfaces are becoming interactive
It can get even easier – and just as exciting. How would it be if, for example, all of a sudden the inside of the doors or the dashboard turned into a smart user interface? For the first time ever, ordinary, uninteresting surfaces can be brought to life by means of gesture control and then start functioning as interactive operating elements. It is therefore possible that surfaces can either be purely decorative or, when required, they can also perform other functions.
The lighting factor will also play an even greater role in the interiors of the future. New interior concepts focus on integrating lighting in such a way to improve comfort and safety, to ramp up driver performance and to bring about the introduction of new functions.
Lighting functions are becoming more important too
HELLA and the French technology supplier Faurecia have developed a concept car which intends to make the vehicle interior of tomorrow within reach today. Before the driver gets into the car, his profile and preferences are recorded in the cloud, stored and sent to the cockpit. This enables a personal welcome to take place including light animation on the dashboard, in the door trim panel, on the ceiling and on the seats. During the drive, other lighting features serve as a means of communication. One such example would be how incoming calls can be shown by means of light signals without other passengers being disturbed in any way.
And autonomous driving is also a topic. HELLA and Faurecia are collaborating closely to perfect the technology where the allocation of responsibilities and tasks between driver and vehicle is carried out safely and competently during the transition period at the end of an autonomous driving situation. The seats would return the driver to the suitable driving position while a dynamic lighting scenario kicks in with the aim of stepping up levels of concentration and alertness.
You can find information, tips and instructions all revolving around the subject of lighting here.