By on February 17, 2014

Auto-Adjusting Seat

With help from Faurecia SA and Johnson Controls — the latter predicting the death of the steering wheel by 2025luxury car owners could find themselves with one less thing (or 22) to worry about as self-adjusting seats aim to take the guesswork out of comfortable driving.

Automotive News reports that the two leading seat suppliers are working on self-adjusting seats that utilize cameras and pressure sensors to tailor the perfect seating for a level of comfort not easily achieved with the numerous controls currently found in luxury sedans, as Faurecia’s senior industrial design manager Olivier Boinais explains:

The complexity of a luxury sedan’s seat controls taxes the motorist’s patience. For the past 10 years, we’ve been trying to simplify the [seat] adjustments while providing comfort.

Boinais expects his employer’s seat, the Oasis, will first be found in luxury long-wheelbase sedans meant for chauffeuring executives from meeting to meeting in Beijing and San Jose, such the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. The Oasis works its magic by utilizing a video camera to help the executive fire and hire people in comfort.

Johnson Controls’ own seat goes for a two-pronged approach: The passenger first enters their height via smartphone or onboard console, then sits back against the adjusted head and foot rests as pressure sensors evaluate posture for perfect seating.

According to JCI’s group vice president of technology management Andreas Eppinger, having the seat do the work can quickly improve driving comfort, leaving more time to focus on more important matters:

If you have ever tried to adjust a seat with 18 controls, it keeps you pretty busy. You can sit however you want, but if you are not sitting in the perfect position, you might regret it after an hour.

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37 Comments on “Self-Adjusting Seats Find A Home In Luxury Cars...”


  • avatar

    #1 autonomous driving probably won’t be a big thing till 2050 and it will likely be limited to highway cruising like the ACC feature.

    #2. I seriously doubt the steering wheel is going anywhere for a long, long time.

    #3 these are the same people who predicted flying cars.

    #4. The multicontour seats of the W221 with heating/cooling and massage are what I consider the best seats ever made.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I love this commercial:

      http://goo.gl/77IVGd

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      #1 for highway cruising already exists. Self parking cars already exist, too.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> #1 for highway cruising already exists.
        Not really. Active cruise control with stop and go traffic features are in the market place, but these systems aren’t capable of autonomous human-less operation.

        If you’re referring to the Google cars, they’re more self driving and not capable of being autonomous – there’s a difference. Almost all of these experiments lack the intuitive AI and comprehensive object recognition and characterization to be able to function without a human at the kill switch or within quick grasp of the wheel. These systems also have to be able to have zero chance of failure. Zero. One failure every million miles isn’t good enough. Zero.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Okay, so now you’ve gone from never to 2050. At least some progress has been made. :p

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    I’m happy with the vinyl seats with NO controls in my 93 jeep cherokee, thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I’d be happy if seats didn’t have the height adjustment where the recline should be, and if the height adjustment just adjusted height without screwing everything else up.

  • avatar
    redav

    Style guides say that “utilize” means to use a thing in a way it is not intended, like utilizing a screwdriver as a crowbar. Use “use.” Don’t utilize “utilize.”

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Yay more ridiculously expensive crap to break, be a perfect match for the $4000 radio that won’t let you use the air conditioning if it malfunctions.

  • avatar
    felix

    Hmm that seat looks like it could function as “the chair” in an Ob-Gyn clinic…

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …i think the millenials and younger generations would feel right at home cosseted in what appears to be an adult-sized child seat, driven around from destination to destination by automated algorithm…

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Will Aston-Martin and Jaguar advertise them as “bespoke”?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      el scotto – - –

      Probably. They surely love that word, don’t they? Gives a sense of some mysterious customized dedication that would not exist otherwise. That is, essentially meaningless.

      I wonder if bespoke is the past tense of bespeak? Or could be used in some possessive sense, as in, “That girl is already bespoken for”? Would that mean she’s customized and dedicated?

      ———————–

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    If you have to tell it how tall you are, it likely isn’t going to be that good.

    Just say’n

  • avatar
    Joss

    Oh my gawd, drive for miles like this and then have to sit on a picnic table. Imagine the shock of it.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m sure this will be important to the even smaller chauffeured subset of the already small number of people who purchase said long wheelbase cars.

    But it will filter its way down into the smaller LWB cars in China, and eventually you’ll be able to have it on your 2040 Toyota-Hyundai Cam-Grandeur.

    I might also add, a chair like that in the car would probably make me very sleepy. I would arrive drowsy after every journey of any considerable length.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It would appear these folks have invented…the ultimate porno viewing device!

    Progress marches on!

    (eyes rolling)

  • avatar
    old fart

    If they ever prefect autonomous driving the cities would probably level a tax on it to offset the loss of revenue from red light and speeding cameras, and they would still arrest you for being in the car while drunk or stoned. Must make money !

  • avatar
    johnnygeo

    The mechanic reset the seat memory in my wife’s Volvo. When I readjusted it, I found that I was just as comfortable as before with a completely different combination of settings.

    Is there a seat adjustment protocol that people follow to ensure a good fit? Or does everyone else just play around like I do and tweak one setting at a time over a period of several months?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      We just got our first vehicle with memory seats. My wife and I are the same height and both drive in a similar position. For the first 3 weeks, we both drove on the memory 1 setting with me tweaking it here and there. On a long drive yesterday, she decides to move the seat all over the place. So, back to memory 1… but memory 1 is now no good and I have to adjust and reteach memory 1. Basically, I don’t get the big deal with memory seats unless you and your spouse are far, far different in how you sit in the car. It basically gets you in the ballpark quickly. Even then, I rarely do a long drive without some small adjustment.

  • avatar
    wmba

    What about people with no necks? You know, like Rob Ford. Would the pressure sensors be fooled?

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The seat is the most important part of any car, I wish more manufactuers would realize this. The second most important is the steering wheel’s adjustability, followed by the pedal alignment and adjustability.

    I find most carseats to be unbearable. It’s like car companies forgot that people actually need to sit on the seats for an extended period of time. I know it’s highly personal what one finds comfortable, but the only car seats I consistently find comfortable are Honda seats. I would buy a Honda based soley on the seats.

    I have a 1999 tahoe with 60/40 split bench that are completely unbearable, not to mention GM has no idea how to line up pedals, seats, footrests, and steering wheels. When you go on 3,000 mile trips, things like that start to bug you way more than you would think, not to mention the days of back pain. You would think something as basic as this would be a given…I have owned many GM products and not one of them have had a good seat. I refuse to buy another GM product because of it.

    I have a 1997 tbird with tiny seats, they might be ok for a 5-2 120 lb woman, but for me, a regular sized 5-11 190 lb guy with tree trunk legs and butt from squats, deadlifts, and oats, they are awful. They are so bad, I scour ebay on a regular basis looking for a good deal on civic SI/accord coupe seats so I can replace them.

    A good seat (for me) should be firm, have either adjustable thigh support or be long enough that you have most of your thigh supported, adjustable height lumbar support (I require very agressive lumbar support for comfort) and a FLAT bottom where my butt goes, sitting on bolstering is not comforable.

    Also, I don’t want/need leather, it’s hot and it cracks, just give me a quality cloth option that isn’t going to wear out.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      All your cars are old and -not performance oriented- enough that they probably aren’t going to be comfortable. You don’t find the kind of bolstering you want in old Ford or GM products, and especially not in SUV’s.

      And, you don’t find that sort of seat design in cloth, generally. The multi-adjustible seats come with luxury option packages which mandate leather. Maybe some sports Recaro seating option, but then you’d complain they were too tight for a hefty frame.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        I don’t want bolstering. I hate bolstering. No one makes bolstering to fit me. I want a flat bottom, and a nonbolstered back rest with adjustable lumbar support. My massive thighs, butt, and shoulders don’t fit bolstered seats.

        Here’s an example of what I want in a general shape of a seat, however, this particular seat is probably not wide enough for me:

        http://www.cerullo.com/sportsSeats/sc.html

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I’ll clarify. “Thigh support” as you call it, IS bolstering. Any contouring on the edges of seats is bolstering. You can choose to call it “thigh support” but it’s still bolstering.

          You aren’t going to find what you want unless you lose some mass.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            No, thigh support as in a longer cushion or adjustable length as some luxury seats have. I should specify, by bolstering I specifically mean the side bolsters found on the bottom and back cushions. Thanks.

            Here’s an example of what most OEM side bolstering (and sometimes that awful upper back bolstering) looks like, which means you sit ON the bolsters, instead of them keeping you in the seat, and your lumber is not in a properly curved position, rather, it is rounded, which is extremely uncomfortable and un-ergonomic, so much so, it blows my mind that anybody thought that shaping a seat as such would be a good idea:

            http://www.cerullo.com/truckSeats/apache.html

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Nickoo, I think Corey is referring to the added cushion that is sometimes on the front of the seat that can extend its length a bit? These are also called bolsters, but for folks whose knees are still well beyond that, like us, it’s not usually effective unless it’s a structurally supported cushion. Both types would be called a cushion.

          • 0 avatar

            Instead of using the original cover that it has, why not spruce it up a bit by enhancing the interiors of your Car with better and more customized seat covers?
            If you are on for this change, your best option would be the Saddleman.com for custom fit seat covers.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      BMW sport seats have the appropriate thigh adjustment needed by the extremes of size that are now common. Most other makes do not have this option below 50k level cars.

      My recent purchase got narrowed down to the Pilot, Tahoe, and Volvo because BMW was out and Audi was too. BMW due to maintenance and dealership, and Audi due to the seats you get stuck in below the A6 level (and I find their 4 cyl turbo irritating in town).

      Tahoe bucket was comfortable for me, and I learned from selling airplanes that comfort is mostly an individual thing. Their will be some cheap seats that just fit you and some finely made ones that don’t. That’s why depending on overall height for adjustment is stupid.

      Anyways, try a Volvo, and don’t bother with Lotus. The Evora is beautiful, but still an ergonomic challenge.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    More evidence that “luxury” cars are a waste of money, as they increasingly distinguish themselves with gimmicks and gadgets that are irrelevant to the driving experience.

  • avatar
    b72

    Nothing could possibly go wrong. A damaged sensor couldn’t possibly result in crushing your knees against the dashboard or pretzeling your spine as your your seat goes up and you run out of room. Bodily injury from the maladjustment aside, there’s always the possibility that the seat places you in a position from which it is impossible to maintain control of your vehicle.

    A hacked version might make an appearance as an interrogation chair in an upcoming spy thriller.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    LOL at no steering wheel by 2025. So does that mean if the car’s computer gets pissed off at the young punk at the wheel it can now properly eject the driver by it’s self adjusting seat?


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