Ahead of the summit, we took a look at the top three areas of focus for automotive seating in 2019. These areas include health and wellness monitoring, safety, and seating comfort scaling.
The automotive seating market is shifting towards a more human centered design – with a focus on health and wellness. Seating is becoming more responsive to customer comfort, which means safety will consequently increase as drivers become monitored. This shift has created several new opportunities as industry players have the ability to share health information with healthcare providers and can even introduce notifications for the driver (i.e. when a driver becomes distracted, sleepy, etc). In the near future, seats will be able to analyze physiological data and apply countermeasures to mitigate motion sickness, stress, discomfort, drowsiness, and readiness to operate controls.
As always, safety is also prime area of focus for the automotive seating market. With the ongoing race to deploy autonomous vehicles, industry players within seating are beginning to collaborate more with supply chain partners to develop appropriate safety standards and adaptive seating safety features for future vehicles. There has also been a shift towards utilizing extensive virtual testing, head-knock airbags that deploy out of a center seat bolster, and second-row seat belts that have an airbag built into the fabric of the belt.
The third and final area of focus for the automotive seating market in 2019 is bringing luxury comfort to mid-size and compact vehicles. If done right, scaling seating comfort would result in a massive payoff for an individual brand. Scaling would not only reduce costs; it would also extend a brand's customer base to a much wider audience.
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The sheer growth of car sharing services is prompting the seating industry to offer materials with stainless and odorless properties. For Mobility as a Service (MaaS) users, a clean interior is essential, so composites like titanium dioxide and star-shapely branched polymers can offer a comfortable seating experience. Touch-able surfaces are also in demand to allow occupants to control some car systems from the seat.
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Ongoing developments in autonomous vehicle technologies continue to shape the future of the automotive seating industry. That being said, check out Auto IQ's Automotive Seating Innovation Report, which deep dives into: