Next-generation touch switches adapt to automated driving

November 03, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Next-generation touch switches adapt to automated driving
The possibilities of touch switches are illustrated by a demonstrator jointly devised by automobile and motorcycle seat supplier TS Tech Co of Japan and Canatu Oy, a developer and manufacturer of 3D formable and stretchable films, touch sensors and heating solutions from Finland. The demonstrator is implemented as a decorative door trim with 3D touch switches to control the power seat adjustments, fusing design and usability.

Autonomous driving calls for progressive human-machine interfaces (HMIs) that allow the driver to lean back and maximize comfort while driving. Seats and door trims will rise in relevance when designing HMIs as they are always closest to the driver. In SAE autonomy level 3 vehicles (conditional driving automation) and above, it is assumed that the driver will take a relaxed posture within a range where he/she is always ready to take control if the system is unable to execute the task. However, when the driver enters this position the car’s centre display and instrument panel will be out of the occupant’s reach. Seats and door trims are ideal places for user interfaces as they allow a driver to effortlessly control the functions from the lean-back position. 

Conventional capacitive touch sensor films may not be able to withstand stretching required for three-dimensional processing. With Canatu's bendable and transparent Carbon NanoBud (CNB) film, it is possible to incorporate touch switches that conform to the shape of the door trim grip. Together with TS Tech’s decorative door trim technology, the solution offers intuitive user experience and beautiful design. Touch switches feature lighting which remains discreetly hidden until the switches are activated.

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