Magna bringing configurable seating concept to CES

A new vision for seating, engineered to provide flexible and collaborative arrangements targeting an autonomous-vehicle (AV) future.
Magna has provided a glimpse into its vision for the future of configurable cabin spaces, and will provide a life-size transforming seating demo (see gallery) at its booth during the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins January 8 in Las Vegas. Driven by consumer research, the seating-system concept is designed to provide flexible and collaborative configurations that target an autonomous vehicle (AV) future.
“Magna’s seating innovation is driven by the belief that while the vehicle occupant experience will be very different with the introduction of mobility and autonomy, the functional basics will remain the same: passengers want convenience, flexibility and comfort,” said Mike Bisson, president of Magna Seating. “This approach has essentially helped us create seats that adjust to the consumer, instead of having the consumer adjust to seats.”
Magna has long been an innovator in the seating space, with examples including Chyrsler’s Stow-N-Go seating and the 30-way adjustable seats in current Lincoln products. According to Magna, current engineering trends continue to focus on consumer hotpoints such as third-row access and car-seat headflop. But Bisson noted that the industry is about to witness enormous changes, with features including health and wellness monitoring, new entertainment platforms and collision models requiring new thinking on safety restraints and airbags.
Beyond ever-present cost and weight constraints, Dino Nardicchio, Magna’s global VP of advanced technology engineering for seating said specific engineering challenges related to a new vision for vehicle cabins will involve power-consumption and a “fundamental shift” in load-floor design. Many future applications will need to accommodate both an under-floor battery pack and seat-configuration hardware. Sill heights will be affected, which influences the seating-critical “box height” (the distance between passenger H-point and the bottom of the seating track).
According to the Magna team, along with increased structural stiffness and tolerances required for floor-length seating tracks, there will also be NVH challenges as weight placement and resonant frequencies shift from seats changing position in the cabin, and regulatory hurdles including validating side-facing seats for safety certifications.
Concept as calling card
Magna’s new platform concept is based upon in-market consumer research conducted in China, Europe and the United States targeted at understanding consumer perceptions of seating, and observing consumer seat interaction on a day-to-day basis. The goal was a focus on optimizing user experience and the results will help Magna and OEMs reshape vehicle-cabin architectures.
The seating concept focuses on three configurations and their related technologies. In Cargo mode, cabin-length seat rails permit seat travel extending under the instrument panel for maximum cargo volume, flexible seating hardware provides various volume options, and a related mobile app could pre-configure the cabin loading mode (min, max, left or right side, etc.). A Road Trip configuration provides “campfire” seating with 4-way headrest sleep support, haptic seat massage for optimal blood flow and personal sound zones. An autonomous Ride Sharing mode arranges collaborative, conference-style seating as well as object detection to be sure personal items are not left behind.
According to Magna, it expects the first products exhibiting the fore-aft modes to be on the market by 2022, and it’s hoping its 2019 CES display serves notice in the industry that they are ready to tackle OEM challenges in this space. To showcase some of the concept’s sample seating arrangements, below are several Magna-provided videos that illustrate the cabin concept’s flexibility.

Continue reading »