Concepts for autonomous vehicles now are commonplace at auto shows, but most of them look a bit fanciful, as if they belong more in the year 2050 than 2025.
At the recent North American International Auto Show, interiors supplier Johnson Controls revealed a refreshingly realistic vision of the future.
Its ID15 concept shows off technology that allows the driver and passengers to engage in activities outside driving, such as working, reclining and conversing with other passengers, but it doesn’t lose sight of the fact that it is a vehicle interior and not a mobile living room.
Best of all, most of the 30 new technologies it features are production-ready.
“The design and development of this concept is based on the interior changes that are necessary to adapt to the autonomous driving experience,” says Han Hendriks, vice president- Advanced Product Development and Sales, Johnson Controls Automotive Interiors.
The design’s most eye-catching idea is a rotating table located on the center console. Combined with a swiveling seatback, the table allows the driver to interact more easily with passengers in the front and rear while in autonomous mode.
The “swingback” feature holds the seat in its standard fixed position, while the upper seatback pivots 18 degrees. The rear seat also features a reclining mode that includes a leg rest and foot rest.
The seats in the ID15 were developed for the Chinese market, where luxury car owners are frequently chauffeured, by the Yanfeng Johnson Controls (YFJC) automotive seating joint venture. Johnson Controls and Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems formed a global automotive interiors joint venture last year.
The company is accelerating its growth in the region with new plants, joint ventures and strategic agreements. Johnson Controls’ second global corporate headquarters, located in Shanghai, will open in 2017.
The futuristic concept also demonstrates what Johnson Controls calls smart surface technologies that replace conventional switches to control various functions throughout the interior.
LED ambient lighting across the instrument panel and along the side of the doors create special effects that are synchronized with driving modes and sculpted leather surfaces provide a premium feel.
The concept also shows off lots of new ideas for stowing personal items both large and small. With more time on their hands to do other things behind the wheel besides drive, vehicle occupants will no doubt be bringing a lot more things to play with in their cars.