PLYMOUTH, Mich., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- HELLA is working on technology that can fold or unfold an SUV's rear seats at the push of a button, integrate ambient lighting into vehicle seating and lock or unlock turntable seats in autonomous vehicles.
Semi-automated seat architecture under development at HELLA in Plymouth, Xiamen in China and Lippstadt in Germany, is designed to meet a wide variety of future market needs created by the emergence of "megacities," aging populations, the growing popularity of SUVs and interest in the development of automated vehicles. HELLA already offers auto makers and system suppliers in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region a unique portfolio of actuators, electronic control units, and position sensors. While this portfolio forms the basis of HELLA's current architecture competence, new applications will help OEMs meet a growing demand for premium-car seating and interior features among mid-range and compact-car buyers. Further development of the existing architecture is being driven by the German company's product planners and development engineers and will expand the architecture offering to include features that will help adjust backrests, rotate seats, move entire rows of seats and even have the ability to support future active safety concepts. Gary Hawkins, vice president of Program Management for HELLA Electronics in the Americas notes that optional "smart" latch actuators can be used to lock and unlock front seats for easy entry, adjust front- and rear-seat backrests, and allow for the fold down of second- and third-row seating. Seating functions designed with "smart" latch actuators will reduce the need for separate sensors and electronics as well. With the control unit platform, car makers and seating suppliers can easily add a number of features into a seat's architecture, including heating, cooling and ventilation, as well as interior lighting.