Autonomous vehicles, electric cars and car sharing will soon fully redefine the use of a vehicle: The car will become a multifunctional, mobile living and working space. This is the guiding principle of a premium interior concept for future mobility, which Covestro will be presenting at the K 2019 plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf from October 16 to 23.
“The car of the future is fully networked and is seamlessly integrated into everyday life, where it provides the user with new experiences and the greatest possible autonomy,” said Jochen Hardt from Global Marketing Mobility at Covestro. At the unveiling of the prototype, the project manager added: “Modern materials and technologies have paved the way for this. Covestro is a leading player here. In cooperation with partners, we keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”
The concept focuses equally on functionality, comfort and design, but also on efficiency and light weight. The focus is on multi-sensor infotainment systems, innovative seating concepts, smart surfaces and personalized lighting. High-tech materials from Covestro open up a kaleidoscope of new possibilities for many different components. A selection of the developments is presented below.
The highlight: a large multifunctional display
Special emphasis is placed on a seamlessly integrated, three-dimensional multifunctional display – a large-format visual experience for the user, made possible by the high optical quality of Makrolon® Ai polycarbonate and Makrofol® polycarbonate film. A sophisticated combination of In Mold Decoration (IMD) and Film Insert Molding (FIM) provides for the surface design and durability. The latest Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI) support passenger communication with the car and the outside world. Such polycarbonate films may also serve as a moldable carrier for printed electronics, enabling the integration of additional functions.
In the car exhibit at K 2019, Covestro will also present functional surfaces with premium look and feel. In addition to the use of polycarbonates and the INSQIN® technology for textile coating, the particular appeal lies in the combination of unusual materials such as wood, stone and aluminum.
New seating concepts for future mobility
As the classic function of the driver’s seat is no longer required, the car interior can be given a new look and design. Not only should the seats be comfortable, they should also offer enough flexibility to expand the interior space. An integrated and individually configurable lighting system ensures comfort and safety and enables car manufacturers to differentiate their brands.
Here, too, Covestro materials are trailblazers for the properties and advantages mentioned, for example polycarbonate composites of the Maezio™ brand. In the seats, they provide a new aesthetic appeal and robust structure, while Makrofol® films combine design and functionality. The vegan and waterbased INSQIN® technology for textile coating offers the same attractive appearance as leather, but at lower cost and with reduced solvent emissions. Here, the possibility of allowing light to shine through the coated surface and creating a completely new type of ambient lighting is attractive.
Flexible table construction
Together with partners, Covestro has developed a lightweight table that is tailored to new usage habits in autonomous vehicles and offers a lot of flexibility. The prototype shown at K 2019 is made of Maezio™ composite material and convinces due to its thin-walled construction, aesthetics and stability. The table can be designed to be foldable so that it can be stowed between the rear seats to save space.
The new movable Privacy Dome is designed to protect users’ privacy. A sound-absorbing acoustic foam based on the Baynat® polyurethane system provides each passenger with individual peace and quiet, independent of other passengers and the outside world. In addition, passengers can enjoy relaxing sounds such as the soothing sound of waves on the beach.
With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) as of the end of 2018.