Faurecia Studying What Car Interiors For Autonomous Driving Vehicles Could Look Like
The possibilities of what a self-driving car’s cockpit can look like are intriguingby Kirby Garlitos, on
As the entire auto industry continues to pursue autonomous driving technology, Faurecia SA is joining in on the fun, albeit doing so with its own specialization: car interiors. Considered as one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive seats and interiors, the French company is looking into the very real possibility of how autonomous driving technology can inevitably change the behaviors of the driver and the passengers inside a self-driving car. and how these new behaviors can be adapted to the car interiors of the future.
Speaking with Reuters, Faurecia’s head of ventures and advanced innovation Matt Benson laid out the company’s challenge in adapting its own products to autonomous driving technology. Benson touched on two key characteristics - intuitive and predictive - that will likely determine the course of action Faurecia takes when designing the “car interiors of the future.”
The challenge in this situation is to create a more flexible cockpit that will complement the behaviors of people inside a car that’s driving by itself. Among other things, Faurecia is already working on what it describes as an “active wellness” seat that features biometric sensors and predictive analysis to measure an occupant’s stress level. In the event an occupant shows any symptoms of stress, the seat itself will respond accordingly. In addition, experiments are already being made to integrate voice recognition and gesture controls with the car’s interior systems, including lighting and audio.
The specifics behind these experiments and studies are still being kept under wraps, but Faurecia is keen to take these steps forward in order to keep up with the evolving future of the auto industry. It’s unclear if any of these techs will be adapted in the future, but the way future mobility is becoming a bigger force in the dictating that future speaks to the urgency by which a company like Faurecia will have to adapt to expand its own business.
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Why it matters
This is an interesting look at one of the unintended consequences of autonomous driving technology. Everyone’s paying a lot of attention on the technology itself - and deservedly so - but there are also other aspects of a car that will be affected by it, including the car interiors. For those who don’t know, Faurecia is one of the most established companies in advancing technology for cockpits and the company that’s partly owned by Peugeot Citroen has established a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking firms in this sub-sector of the auto industry.
So the question has to be asked, right? What happens to the interior of a car that can literally drive by itself? Does the driver need to be engaged to the road too, or can he, as some of Faurecia’s consumer interviews have suggested, play the guitar, do cardio, or play card games instead? What’s the range of freedom that a driver and the passengers have when a car has a self-driving feature that needs no assistance whatsoever from a driver? It becomes even more curious on driverless ride-sharing fleets. Do passengers just sit around like they’ve always done or do they have he space and freedom to do other things while inside a car? The current ergonomic state of car interiors could restrict some of these activities, but what if there’s a new way to configure a cabin with technologies to make them all possible?
If you think about it, the possibilities are very intriguing if you have an open mind on what they could end up being. Granted, there are no answers to all of these questions yet, but it is comforting to know that there’s a company like Faurecia that’s paying attention to the evolving future of the auto industry and is looking at ways on how it can adapt its specialization - car interiors - in order to keep up with the changing landscape of the industry.