Design & Technology
Developing the most comfortable car seat in the world January 12th, 2010
By Kim, Seok-hwan
Seat System Design Team
When a driver or passenger gets into a car, what part do they come into contact with immediately and for the longest period of time? It’s the seat. Seats are an essential part of a car because the feeling or comfort of seats can determine the value of the car. Seats are also an area where we are seeing rapid technological advances. So today, I’d like to tell you more about the ‘Seat R&D Symposium’ and new seat technologies.
A plethora of new car seat technologies are being developed to deliver an emotional driving experience. For instance, we’re even seeing massage seats that relax tired muscles. Studies are being conducted into hybrid seats that graft various electronic devices, new materials and safety technologies to provide a more comfortable ride. On November 5 of 2009, about 250 of Korea’s leading car seat experts gathered at Rolling Hills Hotel in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do, for the ‘Seat R&D Symposium.’ Participants discussed new seat technologies currently under development and plotted future strategies for the sector.
The symposium included presentations of 29 working-level research papers on five major seat-related research areas, namely electronics, emotional driving, comfort, safety and mechanism. In addition, audience members listened to four presentations by invited professors. Particularly noteworthy was the presentation of research into intelligent seats as part of the newly created electronics sector which provided a blueprint into the future of automobile seats. Papers by US and European seat experts also shed light on global seat trends and technological standards.
Some of the emerging technologies that garnered the most attention were Haptic Interactive Seat, Pre-Safe Seat and Pre-Crash Head Restraint. Haptic is a term related to the sense of touch. For example, cell phones like the Apple iPhone are controlled and manipulated by touching the screen with your hand. The Haptic Interactive Seat incorporates sensors that follow the movement of the driver’s pupils so that when the driver is determined to be dozing at the wheel, the seat vibrates to wake up the driver. Additionally, if the navigation system is telling the driver to turn left, the left side of the seat vibrates to remind the driver of the turn direction.
This smart technology represents the present and future of cutting-edge seats found inside Kia cars. It surpasses the technological standards of our peers who only provide audio warnings to drowsy drivers.
The Pre-Safe Seat and Pre-Crash Head Restraint protect passengers by analyzing the situation before an impact. An exhibition of some 20 new seat technologies was also held alongside the symposium.
Demonstration of Haptic Interactive Seat
Seats are the first and last contact point between a car and its occupant. Accordingly, it is essential for carmakers to apply the latest technologies and materials to seats. The Seat R&D Symposium is just one of the efforts by Kia Motors to develop more advanced seat technologies. We’ll be working hard to create seats that are beyond your imagination.