In the future, vehicles will be voice activated, automatically take you directly to work or home merely by sensing the time of day, read the morning news, and even brew your coffee.
Well, who knows about all of that for sure, but hopefully the part about the coffee comes true.
Although the future is never certain, one innovative company is working to advance the driving experience starting at a crucial area that is often overlooked: the seat.
Faurecia, one of the world’s largest automotive equipment suppliers, is focused on three main areas of business: automotive seating, interior systems, and clean mobility.
Faurecia’s ideal concept of the Cockpit of the Future is more connected, adaptable, and predictive for a new driving experience. It is connected through smart human-machine interface (HMI) and integrated electronics that provide intuitive connectivity between people, vehicles, and the outside world.
And, it all starts with Active Wellness.
Faurecia’s seat cover, Active Wellness 2.0, is the culmination of five years of research with the Ohio State University Spine Research Institute, the same team that developed NASA’s space suit sensors, and Hoana, a leading producer of medical sensory devices.
Active Wellness 2.0 is one of the first examples of how the Cockpit of the Future will become predictive through occupant monitoring and data management to ensure comfort and safety. The use of predictive technology improves safety, comfort, and convenience. A biometric sensor system and big data allow the predictive cabin to develop the ability to anticipate, learn, and automatically adapt to each occupant’s needs and situation.
Smart, inventive, helpful—yes! But how does this improve driver comfort?
In addition to the biometric sensing system, built into the cover are comfort features like full seat heat and venting along with adjustable lumbar support. Also included are wellness features to reduce fatigue and back pain such as back cushion, lumbar massage, and lumbar-focused heating.
All of these features are adjusted based on data collection and driver feedback through a digital application available on a smartphone, which will propose adapted treatments. For example, the driver would be notified with a proposal to engage an automatic massage to promote better circulation and targeted heat therapy, relieving back and muscle pain. And, drivers will be able to adjust their position in the cabin as additional consoles and screens become available.
IN THE INDUSTRY
Active Wellness is also offered as an aftermarket cover system for the professional driver, called Active Wellness Express. It is initially aimed at truck fleets and fleet operators as a way to improve the performance of drivers on the road for extended periods of time. Active Wellness Express uses integrating sensors that monitor health and wellness such as heart rate, heart rate variation, breathing rate, and more.
Active Wellness Express is an aftermarket solution that not only ensures professional drivers’ comfort while they’re in the cockpit but also helps them stay healthy when behind the wheel. In this way, Active Wellness Express helps drivers feel better throughout their journey. Active Wellness Express also senses driver energy level and indications of stress, which can help to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of driving in dangerous conditions. The result is a more comfortable and safer drive.
HOW IT WORKS
Through Sensor Fusion, which is a system of multiple sensors working together, Active Wellness 2.0 and Active Wellness Express collect and analyze wellness data and body movement and remember the driver’s behaviors and preferences—all to create a variety of personalized actions.
Since Active Wellness remembers the driver’s behaviors and preferences, it can predict how the driver will be most comfortable based on his or her physical condition, the time of day, and the current travel conditions.
It can become difficult for professional drivers, especially those who are in the truck for several hours at a time, to monitor their health on the road. By connecting to mobile devices, Active Wellness Express allows drivers to monitor their biometric stats, allowing them to be more in control and proactive with their health and wellness and, potentially, helping them feel better when they arrive at their destination than when they first got into the truck.
FOR YOUR FLEET
Active Wellness Express offers fleet operators of Class 1-8 work trucks and vans safer driving conditions, resulting in fewer accidents and less time spent away from work. These safer driving conditions also lead to healthier and happier employees, creating a more motivated workforce.
Active Wellness Express usage can result in higher workforce efficiency, as well. More deliveries can be made in a shorter time by reducing stops made by the driver due to pain and fatigue. Fleet operators can also monitor the data reported through the seat cover via cloud-based technology, improving their company’s overall efficiency.
With Active Wellness 2.0 and Active Wellness Express, Faurecia aims to make drivers more comfortable, energized, and less stressed while operating a vehicle, even if its innovations seem to belong in a later decade. Faurecia plans to bring Active Wellness Express to the market by 2019, making the future closer than you thought was possible.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Faurecia is one of the world’s leading automotive equipment suppliers. Find out more, visit www.faurecia.com.