With help from Faurecia SA and Johnson Controls — the latter predicting the death of the steering wheel by 2025 — luxury 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.