Smart Surfaces Potential Into Automotive

Over the course of years and even decades, vehicle design and development has been compartmentalized into special engineering units.  Each unit develops, skin, trim, infotainment and electronics, HVAC and so on.   The functional groups are a sensible organization, playing to technical strengths.

The newer technical and materials possibilities in electronics have encouraged or shaken vehicle developers into a cross pollination and innovation mindset.  Deeper integration potential lies ahead.

Consumer smartphones are a revolutionizing laboratory and live action demonstrator of smart surfaces potential.   They have provided robust displays, haptics, relentlessly inventive package downsizing and lightweighting, and integration of functions which used to be belong to other devices.   Smartphones are knocking at the door of the car, but have yet to conquer the car, with its complex driving environment and abusive fifteen year lifecycle.

The ITB Group has witnessed a full decade of smartphone innovation in parallel to the automotive equivalent of two or three vehicle design cycles.   During this time automotive has been entirely consumed with creating the powertrain variants for larger scale electrification in the 2020s.

Powertrain development is now in a good place.  One manufacturer places electrification in the tail end of a powerful acronym, CASE, setting a concise set of future priorities:

Connected     Autonomous     Shared & Services     Electric

In serving these priorities, potential suppliers need to frame smart surface concepts.  Commercial solutions must facilitate connectivity and user experience, and aid in reconceptualizing the vehicle interior to potential sharing scenarios.

The ITB Group offers technology scouting and analysis of the Smart Surfaces Landscape, via its business/technical report for second quarter 2018, and provides an ongoing Detroit-based technology forum to industrialize Smart Surfaces for global application.

Photo Sources:  The ITB Group and

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