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Let’s talk: Reimaging the future of automotive interiors
Source:Adsale Plastics Network     Editor:VC    Date:26.Jan.2022

Have you ever imagined turning a car into a mobile office, an entertainment center or a place for relaxation? The automotive interior concept will be reshaped as the whole automotive industry is reinventing beyond the context of “traditional” vehicle.


With the development of autonomous driving creating a shift in car usage and ownership, the interiors will transform into mobile and multifunctional living space, making the driving experience more than simply getting to the end destination. As such, Covestro is pushing the boundaries of what is possible when traveling in future cars.


Adsale Plastics Network talked to Philipp Möller, Technical Marketing Manager Mobility for APAC region, Engineering Plastics, Covestro, to know more about the key trends identified and the company’s vision for future automotive interiors.

Car Interior Concept_web.jpg

Covestro believes that the future car will be a mobile and multifunctional living space to be integrated into daily life. 


24/7 mobility, seamless connectivity and designed ambience


It is expected that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will not be used by one single user, but instead shared by different people 24 hours a day and seven days a week, which brings higher requirements for design and sturdiness of AVs during constant usage.


In the era of digitalization, people expect a seamless transition in their mobile experience when they are on the road. “The vehicle itself will transform to a smart and connected device, connecting with other devices and vehicles via the internet to exchange data, allowing for work and entertainment as the driver will become a passenger,” said Philipp Möller.


To set the mood and deliver different experience, he expects future interiors to have seamless surfaces, large displays and improved haptics. “Ambient lighting and sensors will be integrated into all aspects of the vehicle, from seating to infotainment panels,” he said.


From the perspective of Covestro, high design freedom and high-quality functional surfaces are the new concepts for next-generation car interiors. They are also key factors for automotive OEMs to set themselves apart in many different ways.


“Let’s imagine for a second. We can daydream while gazing out a panoramic roof, or rotate our seats and turn on ambient lighting for a shared lounge experience with fellow passengers. We can also peer at large and richly animated screens to keep us connected with friends and family when we travel,” added Philipp Möller.

Covestro Concept Car Interior_web.jpg

Interior design of Covestro’s concept car.


Large curved displays and 5G compatible


When it comes to multifunctional displays and control panel for cockpit, Philipp Möller confirmed the trends of larger curved displays as well as greater personalization and privacy.


“As ridesharing becomes more common, we anticipate that personal privacy will increase in importance,” he explained.


Therefore, Covestro provides and works on new polycarbonate offerings for granules and specialty films, aiming to integrate larger displays with complex geometries into dashboards, center consoles and side windows.


The same materials also enable seamless curved displays to have personalized lighting and surfaces with special touch and feel.


The company also provides solutions for holographic films that enable head-up displays (HUDs) to show important information in the driver’s line of sight without blocking it.


While conventional HUDs use only the reflectivity of the windshield, next-generation HUDs that use optical films can include augmented reality (AR) features, showing larger images but reducing the size and energy demand of the projector in the dashboard.


Covestro is now expanding its collaboration with Ceres Holographics, Scotland, to make transparent displays with volume holographic optical elements fit for applications in the automotive industry.


Bayfol HX films from Covestro are the key to Ceres Holographics’ capability to provide high-volume transparent films with light-guiding optical functions for volume holographic display solutions.



Covestro and Ceres Holographics are expanding their collaboration on holographic transparent display technology. (Photo: Ceres Holographics)


Meanwhile, connected vehicles are expected to be built with 5G receivers and transmitters. Philipp Möller emphasized that in addition to meeting the high transmittance requirements, the materials for 5G applications in these vehicles have to fulfill automotive requirements including impact, weathering and aging tests.


At Covestro, polycarbonate (PC) is the material of choice. PC and PC blends show a superior level of transparency in the relevant electromagnetic range and offer a good homogeneously distribution of those values. Besides, they have no issues with water absorption or warpage, which makes them satisfy tough automotive requirements.


Sustainability has a way to go


Sustainability is another major driver behind the revolution of the automotive industry. “We see a rising demand for more sustainable materials across all industries, and the automotive industry is no exception,” said Philipp Möller.


While reducing emissions is certainly at the top of agenda, he said “fostering circularity is still an even more complex task for the automotive industry.” It is because materials and assembly of current vehicles are not appropriate for recycling.


A typical vehicle contains around 20,000 different parts in mixed materials from steel and aluminum to glass, plastic and rubber. Disassembling and sorting these materials is an enormous effort. Some applications are also not designed to be recycled.


“There is still a long way to go, but it is a way that we want to go together with the value chain, by providing ever more sustainable materials,” remarked Philipp Möller. 


Besides, future regulatory requirements to meet certain threshold of recycled materials will definitely help and push the OEMs to look further into recycled material solutions, he added.

Read more: 

Let’s talk: How advanced composites complement mobility of tomorrow?



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