Adient takes center stage at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)

Bruce McDonald

The buzz at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this year is all about autonomous driving and the impact it will soon have on drivers and passengers. With Adient marking its two-month anniversary just prior to NAIAS, it was perfect timing for our debut on this international stage.

“We decided when forming Adient that we’re going to really step up our investment in innovation and use the auto show to introduce  technology that surprises and delights our customers,” said Bruce McDonald, chairman and chief executive officer of Adient at their NAIAS news conference.

Sneak peek at the future of driving

Three years ago, Adient undertook an initiative to understand the impact of trends ranging from automated driving and electrification to ‘the Internet of Things,’ big data and artificial intelligence. At NAIAS, Adient unveiled the AI17 Automated Driving Seating Demonstrator, which “converts the impact of these trends into real product innovations for our customers and their consumers,” said Richard Chung, Adient’s vice president of innovation.

Among the 15-plus innovative concepts applicable for both level 3 and 4 autonomous vehicles are greeting and conversation modes. In greeting mode, front seat passengers can activate integrated controls to rotate their seats up to 70 degrees outward so they can easily get in and out of the vehicle. In conversation mode, the front seats rotate 15 degrees inward to create an intimate setting for conversing.

In addition, the Demonstrator applies the “zero-gravity” concept to reclining, which ensures perfect balance at the hip for maximum comfort. Related components - head restraint, dual-sided armrests, leg rests - are synchronized to move with the body.

To further support autonomous driving, the Demonstrator features thin, lightweight seating innovations to increase interior flexibility and provide more usable interior space while also providing occupants with higher levels of safety, comfort and convenience.

Richard Chung

“Luxury by Design” finds the intersection of luxury and affordability

What else is Adient showcasing at NAIAS? Customers were able to consider meticulously crafted, production-ready seats made with a variety of materials, technology and design solutions to help them develop distinctive, yet cost-effective, interiors for vehicles in the luxury segment.  

These seats address growing consumer affluence around the world and a desire for premium features, according to Richard Chung, vice president of innovation for Adient.

“Our ‘Luxury by Design’ seat helps automakers discover the intersection of luxury and affordability while allowing them to create distinct interiors that align to specific vehicle brands.”

Luxury by Design

As an example, “Luxury by Design” shows a driver’s seat trimmed in full-grain leather and a passenger’s seat trimmed in synthetic leather so customers can compare and contrast each material’s quality, craftsmanship and durability, as it relates to luxury and brand.

Other features show hard versus soft back panels, allow comparisons of foam and present 3D CNC sewing as a means to create a handcrafted surface appearance in endless styles.

Onward to Shanghai and Frankfurt

As NAIAS wraps up, the booth properties and products will begin preparations for the next stops on the world stage of auto shows. First up, Auto Shanghai 2017, April 20-27. Then it’s off to the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, September 14-24. While the shows typically last 10 days or so, the planning and executions begin more than a year in advance. So, NAIAS 2018? We’ve already begun.