With the automotive industry inching ever closer to autonomous vehicles, suppliers are finding ways to innovate, keeping their products technologically relevant to the industry’s evolution. This week at the Connected Car Expo in Los Angeles, Faurecia, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, put an emphasis on the interior as it unveiled a new seat designed to work in tandem with self-driving cars.
“As the automotive industry continues its march toward autonomous vehicles, most of its efforts have been focused on creating the technology that will enable autopilot functionality,” Rob Huber, Vice President of Innovation for Faurecia, said in a press release. “While this is an essential foundation, Faurecia is prioritizing a parallel development track focused on how we enhance the mobility experience by improving life-on-board, making comfort, customization and connectivity a priority.”
The result is the Active Wellness seating system, developed to improve the comfort and well-being of passengers. It’s the first system of its kind, detecting heart and breathing rates to determine an occupant’s stress level. Working in conjunction with a tablet inside the car, the seat can alert riders when it believes stress levels are too high, offering remedies such as therapeutic massage or increased seating ventilation.
“Active Wellness is one of the ways Faurecia is already pursuing new functionalities and designs in seating and interiors to address emerging issues related to driving connected/autonomous vehicles,” Huber said.
The Active Wellness seating system is just the beginning of Faurecia’s innovations in regard to autonomous vehicles. The company is also working on a way to limit motion sickness, as self-driving cars will allow users to focus on other activities while on the road. Faurecia doesn’t have any specifics on how it will tackle that challenge yet, only that it is an area of focus.
Transportation is a fascinating industry in 2015. With the push for autonomous vehicles becoming more focused, the entire industry and its myriad sub-industries are having to re-evaluate business models going forward. The end result of all this innovation is still unclear, but future cars are certain to be far different that what we currently see on the road.