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Autonomous interiors for autonomous vehicles

Richard Chung, executive product program manager (EPM),Toyota Boshoku, on the latest from its MX 191 concept featuring six concierge systems designed to deliver an 'autonomous' interior.

What is your presentation about?

Currently, all the attention on autonomous vehicles is focused on self-driving, but what about the interior? We at Toyota Boshoku feel that the interior functions and features need to work autonomously for the occupants’ comfort and convenience and a superb mobility experience. The MX191 concept for the year 2025 addresses this goal holistically, through its uniquely developed six concierge systems that take care of the occupants in the interior space.

What are the six concierge systems, and how do they benefit occupants?

The six concierge systems are:
1. Pre-boarding system: while plugged in for charging, the vehicle receives the destination from the driver via mobile phone in advance and starts to pre-condition the cabin air (disinfection, deodorization and filtration) and cabin temperature.
2. Comfort control system: using the input of biometric data (face recognition, infrared, heartbeat, breathing pattern, body temperature) coupled with our unique algorithm, the system provides sensory stimulation (aroma, light, audio, AC ventilation, massage, recline/leg rest) to increase the occupant’s comfort level from their current state. For example, if the system recognizes that the occupant is upset and stressed (based on biometric signals), it dispenses relaxing aromas and subtle massage, reclines the seat back angle, and plays relaxing music until the mental state improves.
3. Active driver engagement system: using the same input as above (2), the system monitors the driver’s alertness (eye opening and frequency of blinking, position of focus, heartbeat) and provides sensory stimulation to arouse the driver’s alertness through vibration, nostalgic music (upbeat), aroma (arouses focus) and cool air ventilation behind the neck.
4. Multi-space arrangement system: the system can provide up to six different seating configuration in the cabin – from Welcome (front seats swivel out to welcome the passengers) to Family (three people can face each other in the autonomous drive mode), allowing the traveling passengers to fully utilize the space within the cabin to support their desired activities.
5. Safety monitoring seat arrangement system: while the seats are in kinetic motion to arrange the space, the cabin monitoring safety system looks for any unsafe movements and manages a safe transformation.
6. Occupant safety protection system: the safety systems (seatbelt and airbags) are fully contained within the front seat and protect the occupant in any sitting position.

What new materials or technologies underpin the MX191’s interior?

Over 45 innovations of technologies and materials are utilized within the MX191, so it is difficult to explain them all. But as an example, door trim consists of the Kenaf compressed board natural finish, to deliver a lightweight as well as sustainable solution. Individually these innovations may not be significant in terms of breakthrough technology, but by grouping them we are able to create new, undiscovered values to deliver satisfying experiences in the cabin space.

Will driving in the year 2025 really be all that different from today?

Absolutely. We will see many vehicles adapting autonomous Level 3 and 4, and the onboard experience will become more enjoyable.

What was the goal for the MX191 concept?

The goal of MX191 was to provide ‘more comfort, more enjoyment and more safety’ automatically (autonomously) through the six concierge systems. What is next? Well, it is a secret – but you can be sure that we are working on the next phase of the future mobility interior experience, to offer the highest-quality time and space in the vehicle. Toyota Boshoku is committed to exploring and converting these future solutions into tangible products that you can experience in the near future, not just concepts. We are open to working with peers and startups that can add more value to the overall consumer experience. In fact, this MX191 is a culmination of five companies within the Toyota group – Denso, Aisin, Toyoda Gosei, and Tokai Rika – helping us to complement the technologies that we cannot develop on our own, to realize the vision that we had for the MX191. This will be our way of working from now on.

Don’t miss Richard Chung’s presentation at the Future of Automotive Interiors Conference Europe. More information about the conference and its most current line-up can be found here.

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Zukünftige Messe: Automotive Interiors Expo Europe 2021, 8-10 Juni 2021, Halle 4, Messe Stuttgart, Deutschland
Zukünftige Messe: Automotive Interiors Expo Europe 2022, 21-23 Juni 2022, Halle 4, Messe Stuttgart, Deutschland