Design & Technology

Developing the most comfortable car seat in the world January 12th, 2010

Kim, Seok-hwanBy Kim, Seok-hwan
Research Engineer
Seat System Design Team

Hi there!

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.

  • Claude (Montreal)

    As a Sorento owner I was excited to see the new model and replace mine.
    But when I noticed that the Sorento EX V6 comes with 7 seating places, what a waste, I am not shopping for a school bus. I can not see why I should pay this extra seating capacity. Having a 7 places configuration is taking some cargo area. Too bad I will not shop for Kia Sorento in the future.

  • I did a lot of research on infant car seat strollers and was a bit disillusioned by the two that were out there (the Kolcraft Universal and the Snap-N-Go). Reviews for both items showed concerns in using them with a Graco SnugRide (which was my carseat of choice). While some parents mentioned that they both worked great with their SnugRide car seat, there were just as many that had concerns that the strollers didn’t fit that model of car seat well and worried of the two popping apart. Examining both of them up close, I could understand why there might be mixed reviews considering all the minor adjustments you have to tweak depending on which car seat you are using.

  • Hi! Your blog is great and is a very interesting + informative !

  • I think that car seats are really important thing. This is why we should protect them with dome waterproof car seat covers and that way we we can keep them as new as the 1st day!

  • Ravishankar.korgal

    Information is very useful. I am actually prparing the training material on seating system design.
    It will be useful if you help me by sending more information on this

  • Thomas R Moninger

    My wife and I are in our early 60’s and planing on traveling. Both of us have back and generally sitting problems. Our son is a quadriplegic and I look at the special gel seat he sits on is designed to give very even support to prevent skin problems. Also variation in position is critical. He moves from position to position. This may not be practical n a car, however, something to consider.

    Right now we have a Honda Accord and the seats are just ok for us and a 3 series BMW, and these sets are very supportive but to hard and cause pressure points.

    We are starting the look for a supportive, even pressure (gel?), heated/cooled car seats (driver and passenger) car seat. Cadillac/Buick is where we are starting and also looking for a upholstery shop to see what options they might have to upgrade our current cars.

    There are a lot of 65 plus folks in the market and this market is growing is size and it was reported that this group had the larges income gain in 2009. Perhaps a feature/option worth marketing. Do not forget the passenger seat option.

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