Autonomous driving technology is set to transform the design of automotive interiors so seating supplier Adient has presented its AI18 innovation demonstrator at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Looking like a futuristic transport pod, the AI18 concept is a vision of how autonomous electric vehicles could look like in the future. It has been designed to appeal to city dwellers and has relatively compact dimensions for easy maneuverability.
However, the real story is its interior which is highly flexible and "well-suited to evolving models for mobility and vehicle usage such as car sharing." As part of this flexibility, the AI18 concept boasts five unique usage options which each adjust the seating configurations, space, and functional features of the vehicle.
The first setting is called Lounge mode and it is designed to provide optimal comfort and relaxation for one or two passengers. When this mode is selected, the seats use their proprietary anthropometric pivot to recline beyond the normal range. The seat's headrest, armrests, and leg rest are synchronized to match the reclined position and provide plenty of support and comfort.
Communication mode goes in a different direction as it turns the interior into a mobile meeting space. It enables the front passenger seat to rotate 180 degrees so both the passenger and driver are facing each other.
When the car's owner is off the clock, the AI18 can transform into Family mode which deploys two rear seat cushions to increase the seating capacity to four people. Cargo mode is pretty much the exact opposite as it stores the rear seat cushions in the trunk to maximize cargo space.
Lastly, there's Baby plus mode which has been designed to address the needs of parents with small children. In this mode, the passenger seat is rotated 180 degrees and one rear seat can be extended forward so parents can easily interact with their children.
According to Adient Vice President of Innovation, Richard Chung, “We believe that quality of life will be changed dramatically when the self-driving vehicle is deployed in the market. Drivers will become riders along with passengers, and they will get from A to B while being able to find additional time for things that are more valuable in their lives."