THE INTUITION FACTOR
At Faurecia, we think it’s time that vehicles adapt to drivers’ and passengers’ lifestyles instead of the opposite. Though fully autonomous cars are still in the future, vehicles occupants want more autonomy and more opportunities to personalize their interior with seamless connectivity to the outside world today.
With the Intuition demonstrator, Faurecia introduces human-machine interface (HMI) advancements that incorporate full black-panel screens, high-resolution active matrix organic LED (AMOLED) screens, smart functional surfaces, new types of connectivity with mobile devices, automated comfort systems and new decoration materials.
The ultra-thin AMOLED screens offer higher contrast and lower power draw than previous technologies, as well as greater design and packaging freedom — they can be shaped into curved displays. Additionally, a ruler-thin black-panel TFT screen can show infotainment system and phone information. Faurecia worked with its partner Magneti Marelli to integrate these displays and electronic systems.
When a vehicle transitions to an autonomous mode, Intuition offers more comfort. Drivers can easily elongate their seat to relaxed mode while the center console slides back so the center console screen is never out of arms reach. The screen also pivots towards the user for optimal ease-of-use.
Intuition uses switchless technology that converts aluminum, wood, plastic or fabric materials into smart surfaces. A decorative aluminum surface forms a tactile dashboard that replaces traditional controls with touch- sensitive, integrated capacitive switches. Slight vibration and illumination signals action. Piezoelectric technology provides haptic feedback when an occupant touches these materials, so a vibration is felt, for example, when air conditioning is activated by contacting a surface area. Faurecia also pursues new angles in lighting with a strip along the instrument panel edge that shifts from red to blue to indicate the intensity of the cooling setting.
A mobile phone can be inserted into the center console display, where it automatically charges and connects with screens that occupants can navigate with a touch. Mobile devices charge wirelessly in the center console, a slide-out docking station or door panel compartment for rear-seat passengers.
VENTS AS FASHION FEATURES
Faurecia extends interior customization all the way to the air vents with DecoVent, which offers designers full design freedom by integrating the mechanical elements of the vents behind the visible surface.
DecoVent replaces classic visible air-vent vanes with a single horizontal or vertical blade and a totally hidden mechanism. It’s technical performance both in pressure drop and in directivity are among the industry’s best. The visible blade can be designed in many different fashions, including genuine materials, enhancing design options for vents and increasing flexibility as designers work to differentiate vehicle interiors. With the exterior of the vent accommodating a wide variety of designs, a similar architecture can be used for the mechanical components within.
FAURECIA GROWS A GARDEN OF NATURAL MATERIALS FOR MORE SUSTAINABLE VEHICLES
The Faurecia Bio-Materials Garden shows how bio-content literally has grown into automotive parts that Faurecia has developed. These new products, with new processes, now are available in validated systems for automakers around the world.
The display highlights Faurecia’s 25-year history in developing bio-materials, which are brought to market as sustainable, weight- saving breakthrough standards for global carmakers.
The Bio Garden is distinguished by its living meadow of live bamboo, abaca, as well as an Asian spruce, that have been planted in soil and continue to grow throughout the duration of the motor show.
HOME-GROWN AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS
The Bio-Materials Garden display offers a stroll through the history of Faurecia’s innovation of natural materials for use in vehicle interiors. Each of the points of interest in the garden consists of a real growing plant, a Faurecia serial product or prototype that incorporates that plant and a plaque that provides full information on the aspects of the product.
Station 1: Faurecia began working with natural materials in the early 1990s, creating Lignotoc, a compressed wood used in the door panel inserts of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This material, manufactured from the Asian spruce tree, had a bio-content of 85 percent.
Station 2: In 2013, Faurecia created the first bio-injection-molded structural part, using its NAFILean (Natural Fibers for Lean Injection Design) process to produce door panels inserts and top rolls for the Peugeot 308. NAFILean introduced natural fibers to injection molding for lighter weight and higher performance, using a standard injection process with little or no extra cost.
Station 3: From 2013, updated door panel inserts made of compressed spruce wood are featured from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Faurecia also fashioned portions of the vehicle’s instrument panel from the same material, called LignoLite. It saved 20 percent of the door panel carrier weight compared with competing lightweight solutions and 45 percent vs. standard injected carriers. The bio-content of LignoLite is exceptional at 85 percent.
Station 4: Faurecia premiered a major evolutionary step for injection molding in 2014 with its BioMat plastic, a hemp/resin matrix containing 65 percent bio-based resin, the first injection material in the industry to achieve this milestone. And in 2018, Faurecia will offer BioMat with 100 percent bio-based resin, developed in partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical. The resin, made from agricultural waste, allows automakers to eliminate reliance on petroleum from injection-molded parts. This totally bio-based material will be offered to automakers beginning in 2018 for 2020 model year vehicles.
Station 5: In 2015, Faurecia combined two technologies to produce an even lighter door panel: wood compression and an overmolding process in which kenaf-based NFPP material is injected on top of the compressed wood. Together, these processes create a new technology with 55 percent bio-content. They set a new benchmark in lightweight material, as reflected in this prototype that would save 50 percent in weight compared with previous processes.
Station 6: Faurecia Flaxpreg,™ a green and light very long flax fiber reinforced composite sandwich, can be applied by automakers as a multi-position trunk load floor or a structural floor in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. The use of unidirectional long non–woven flax fibers as reinforcement is the key innovation allowing a drastic weight reduction. In March 2015, this innovation was awarded the JEC Europe 2015 Innovation Award in the semi-products category. Thanks to its very low density, Flaxpreg™ offers excellent mechanical properties allowing for a 35 percent weight reduction compared to traditional petro-based glass mat, polyurethane sandwich solutions. The first targets for Faurecia with Flaxpreg™ are to address automakers for the structural trunk load floor market typically dominated by more traditional materials. Further applications such as package trays, door trims or seat backrests are currently under investigation. First series applications of Flaxpreg™ are expected to reach market in 2018 for European automakers.
Station 7: This year, for the first time, Faurecia NAFILean is in serial production for a full instrument panel. Whereas this material was used in a door panel two years ago for a French automaker, in 2015 it is in series production for the large instrument panel in the new premium Alfa Romeo Giulia. It uses hemp fibers in NAFILean to achieve 17 percent weight savings compared with standard instrument panels.
Station 8: The final attraction in the Bio Garden is an exhibit of the bio-based granules that are used in BioMat and other Faurecia injection-molding techniques. Included in the exhibit are testing specimens made from the granules and some small parts that show how the product looks with finishes applied.