The lines between transportation industries are starting to blur as aircraft OEMs and carriers begin to team up more frequently with automotive specialists to innovate seating. Within the last few months, the industry has seen pairings between Boeing and the automotive seating specialist Adient for Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines with BMW, and a Formula One inspired concept seat for commercial airlines — and this list continues to grow. With this in mind, we took a look at how the automotive and aircraft industry are working together on seating in 2019.
What's Driving the Future of Seating? Top 5 Ways Autonomous Technology and Mobility are Transforming Seating
Autonomous vehicles (AVs), ride hailing/sharing apps (i.e. Lyft and uber), shared vehicle ownership, electric vehicles, and other emerging transportation-related innovations are expected to not only transform the way we drive but how we live as well. But how will these changes affect searing?
Though automotive seating has traditionally been thought of as merely a safety apparatus by both manufacturers and consumers, as the role of the “driver” shifts from that of an ‘active driver’ to that of a ‘supervisor,’ seats are evolving into multi-talented interior components capable of providing safety, comfort and entertainment. Although we're still years away from autonomous cars becoming the norm, OEMs have already started reimagining car interiors now that drivers have been taken out of the equation. Furthermore, factors such as the evolving nature of mobility towards new ownership models, ride-sharing services, etc. as well as increased focus on global markets such as China where backseats are very much the priority, are also pushing manufacturers to rethink the traditional passenger experience. With that in mind, below are the top 5 ways industry leaders forecast autonomous and mobility could impact seating.
A conversation with David E. Cole, Chairman, Emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, on:
- Separating the hype from reality of autonomous tech and mobility when it comes to seating
- The evolution of seating from a static, utilitarian automotive component into a comfort system
- Understanding the complex legal, technological and human roadblocks that stand in the way
Auto seating design is undergoing an evolution, one which requires a new approach. Safety, the ergonomic relationship with vehicle systems and comfort have always been the key design drivers in auto seating. They still are critical factors, but with the development of autonomous vehicles and other mobility technologies, what defines those factors is changing, with more being possible and being asked for in terms of functionality. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 designers are looking toward a future that is rapidly approaching, one that will require the broader perspective of systems thinking for seating design.
This in-depth articles explores how OEMs, disrupters and other seating visionaries are applying systems thinking to:
- Build lighter, more luxurious seating systems at lower costs and without sacrificing safety
- Pave the way for autonomous and mobility
- Drive the development of seating innovations such as flexible seating, occupant monitoring and connected seating