RECARO Commercial Vehicle Seating presents "Seating tomorrow" demonstrator at IAA 2018

Hannover, Germany. September 19, 2018 – Many autonomous driving features are being incorporated into concepts of tomorrow’s commercial vehicles. The use of automated, digitally networked and long-range driver assistance systems will increase safety and comfort, while changing the role of professional drivers at the same time.

“By considering autonomous driving and alternative freight transport systems such as platooning, we are picking up on the most important factors of the commercial vehicle industry of the future,” said David Herberg, executive director, Commercial Vehicle Seating at Adient. “We are also providing solutions to one of the most critical challenges in the transport industry: driver shortages. Moreover, by focusing on producing comfortable, outstandingly ergonomic, health-sustaining seats, we’re positioning CV driver seats as premium-quality workplaces that meet all new in-cab usability requirements.” 

RECARO’s “Seating tomorrow” demonstrator includes a driver and a passenger seat as part of a simulated CV cabin’s cockpit. With its premium design and new comfort features, such as longitudinally adjustable armrests and a selection of massage programmes, the driver seat responds to the market's growing demand for an upgraded working environment for professional drivers that can truly be described as a “pleasant, exclusive seating experience.”

Beyond the Drive mode, the driver can select two additional preset positions. In Relax mode, the driver seat is turned 45 degrees toward the passenger’s side of the cabin, creating a comfortable work area to use a laptop or communicate with others for instance. The backrest of the passenger seat can be folded down and converted into a flat working surface. In Rest mode, the driver seat is turned a further 45 degrees toward the passenger seat. In this position, the backrest can be tilted further down. By also turning the passenger seat to provide a leg rest, the two seats can be combined to form a comfortable couch that can be adapted further with an additional removable leather-upholstered pillow. The Relax and Rest modes are only available when the truck’s engine is switched off.

The importance of sitting in a safe posture that protects drivers’ and passengers’ health plays a key role in RECARO products. The "Seating tomorrow" demonstrator features a range of innovative, digitally controlled driver massage and mobilization programs that improve ergonomic seating comfort, driver activation, and the monitoring of body functions. These programs can be activated when the seat is in Drive mode, particularly during long-haul automated column operations (platooning), and in Relax and Rest modes during vehicle downtimes.

In Drive mode, for example, so-called “bladders” in the seat cushion and backrest inflate and deflate to simulate the micro-movements of walking to relax the back muscles, while relieving the intervertebral discs and supplying them with nutrients more effectively. In Relax mode, the driver can choose between wave-like and serpentine stimulation patterns. Several programs are available in Rest mode, including an alternating cycle massage or a gentle, wave-like back massage. 

The RECARO demonstrator’s driver seat is also capable of recording the driver’s vital signs with sensors measuring heartbeat and motion rate while seated. In customer-specific applications, these data could be coupled with mobilization and massage programs, for example, to counteract fatigue.

RECARO takes an innovative approach to user control concepts. The demonstrator shown at IAA 2018 can be operated with a tablet computer, which simulates the seat’s possible integration into the digitized cabin environments of future production vehicles, e.g. cockpit touchscreens. RECARO also has developed an intuitive, one-handed control element complementing the future series-production solutions of CV manufacturers. Similar to multifunctional elements in some of today’s passenger cars, it can be rotated, pushed and pulled to adjust every seat setting – a considerable added convenience for drivers and a major benefit for CV manufacturers in terms of space economics.

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