The Future of Automotive Interiors
By Jérôme Smolinski | May 18, 2022
Electromobility is on the way and is a major disruption for the Automotive world. The look and feel of our interiors are moving towards more spacious and more futuristic spaces, for more secure and more relaxed drive. The way we “feed” our vehicles will also change as the network of solutions is developing its infrastructure.
The refined New Energy Vehicles (NEV) are meant to reflect the new era: more new age interactive functions, less airplane cockpit look.
Even if we’re not there yet, the trend towards seamless interactive surface is there. But the usage of those surfaces for home or office use is different for a vehicle. The challenge is to ensure the function in one shoot with the maximum security.
Yes, software, voice, facial or gesture recognition combined with IA will ultimately help us in the fully autonomous vehicles. In the meantime, we rely on our senses to drive a car, and the touch is a major sense we use.
How to combine seamless surfaces with a reliable touch feeling?
Current solutions with vibrating screens like on the mobile phone do not work inside a car on a road. Adding a sound to the touch does not work the same as the direct sound from the interface itself. We need the confirmation of the action, specifically to ensure safety, not taking our eyes out of the road
We, at C&K, are working on the combination of different technologies to achieve nicer, safer, and more versatile interface solutions.
We are working with the goal of offering the best user experience, based on our expertise of the tact switches and different haptics and sound we propose today. The target is to use the best of all technologies to ease module design and speed up the design time, avoiding the development of new components from the ground up every time a new option or function is needed. Our new developments are:
A new generation of joystick with adaptive rotary switch offering variable number of positions and torques in one product, active haptic confirmation surface and traditional tact switch 4-way navigation
Active haptic surfaces with capacitive detection and illumination
Tact switches embedded in dashboard that can be activated on the surface of it
Electromobility means charging the vehicles. A whole new infrastructure is to be developed to allow the same ease of use as with the internal combustion engines
The need for switches can be found on both sides of the charging, on the home wall box or remote charging station and on the car.
For the charging stations and wall boxes, interfaces are most often using screens, but some functions can still use switches like emergency stop, or vandal proof push buttons (ATPS22 series) power boards can use rotary dip coded (CRE or RTE series)
The cable also can use switches. The plug connector can have a latching system and the security is provided by the mechanical hook holding the cable in place, but also a detection system verifying the connection status to allow for a safe charge.
Finally, the onboard management system like the HVIL (High Voltage Interlock Loop) also requires access detection to prevent electrical shock due to the high voltage.
We are just at beginning of the adventure as the new energy vehicles are in growing at a fast pace so is its infrastructure. As it develops, further improvements, new designs challenges are ahead of us, and C&K is ready to partner with its customers to transform switch technology to tomorrow’s automotive vision