Two women are sitting opposite each other in a relaxed position. Their seats face each other and are reclined. They laugh and enjoy the journey as the car steers them home without them having to lift a finger. Scenes like these will become reality in just a few years' time. Autonomous driving offers new levels of freedom for vehicle occupants. These again impose a completely new set of requirements on the interior and safety concepts: Everything, from the seat and steering wheel to the airbag, needs to be reconsidered and developed. For example, how can we ensure that the transition from autonomous to manual driving mode, and vice versa, goes without a hitch? What would happen in a specific risk situation, or even in the event of an accident? ZF presents technology which provides a response to these questions.
ZF has developed "Concept 2020", a vehicle cockpit with controls that are as simple as possible. Support in this project was provided by the fka Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrtwesen mbH (a research company for automotive engineering) in Aachen.
The concept seat, including seatbelts, belt tensioners and airbags, is the first result of the cooperation between ZF and Faurecia, the French interior specialist.
The new steering wheel is the interface via which driver and vehicle communicate with each other. Gesture controls and advanced hand recognition technology replace levers and buttons. The steering wheel constantly displays who is steering – the driver or the vehicle – which is an important function when changing between autonomous and manual driving modes.