Innovations to touch

    The Marquardt DemoCar lets you experience the cockpit of the future

    What will the interior of a premium car look like in 2023? If you want to experience the future now, you better take a seat in Marquardt's DemoCar. Showcasing the latest innovations by mechatronics specialists, who have taken the trend towards digital cars a step further: with mechatronic solutions that are not only smart and comfortable, but also safer.

     

    “Get in,” says Marquardt project manager Felix Hake with a big smile on his face. “You can test all the functions, that's what they're there for.” It is difficult to refuse such an invitation into the cockpit of the DemoCar for Martina Miller (name changed), a visitor to the trade fair. Felix Hake is responsible for the demonstrator in the Innovations division. “We have thought hard about how customers can experience our products and tried out different approaches,” explains the engineer. One of these is the DemoCar, which Marquardt uses at trade and recruiting fairs, tech shows and customer visits to showcase the innovations with which the company intends to conquer the market in the future.

    We use light as a control element.

    Sitting in a DemoCar like Martina Miller, you can experience the future of vehicle interiors in a realistic environment: how does a product perform, how does it feel, what happens when I activate one or the other function? You are explicitly allowed to play with the functions. “We show ideas which we pursue. But we also incorporate customer opinions and trends, which will be relevant in the next five to ten years, and are already plotting to develop them further today,” says Dr. Frank Stier, Head of Innovations at Marquardt. 

    We are already thinking and developing trend themes that will be relevant in the next five to ten years.

    Dr. Frank Stier Head of Innovations

    We have thought hard about how customers can experience our products and tried out different approaches. The result is our DemoCar.

    Felix Hake Product Manager Innovations

    The new generation of HMI control elements plays a central role: Responsive products with combined sensors that make touchscreens smarter and safer. They are equipped with feeling aids. For example, if tester Martina Miller wants to lock the door or adjust her seating position, she uses the “Seat & Door Control Panel” on the inside of the driver's door. The panel senses touch and provides haptic feedback and a light pulse to indicate whether the finger is in the right position. It is only when gentle pressure is applied that the desired reaction is triggered. This prevents operating errors. After all, it could have disastrous consequences if the driver accidentally touched a control panel with the elbow and the seat suddenly retracted. 

    The window regulator in the armrest of the door is also protected against unwanted activation. The window is controlled with sliders that can be operated with two fingers. The module replicates the passive feel of mechanical switches and provides an active feel by sending feedback to the user. In other words, technology “responds” and renders the symbiosis of design, comfort and safety possible. “We create a real interaction between the HMI module and the driver. This accurate interaction of sensor and actuator technology makes the module so high-quality and so safe,” explains Project Manager Hake. Martina Miller is also amazed when she feels the vibration under her fingers: there really is something going on between man and machine. With this interface, the term "Human Machine Interface" lives up to its name.

    Martina Miller looks at the multifunctional steering wheel. On the left side of the display the menu status is shown, on the right side the sub-functions. All inputs are made through force sensing: only when the car has “understood” the input, the driver can activate the desired function. A 3D real glass console with a large touch screen featuring high-quality materials attracts attention in the middle of the cockpit. No other company has so far deformed such a large glass surface and equipped it with electronics. Here also: interactive
    control panels.

    „We use light as a control element.“
    Felix Hake, Product Manager Innovations

    But how can the glove compartment to the right of it be opened? There is no lever or button visible. The tester uses her flat hand to move once over the area in front of the passenger seat and, as if by magic, the compartment opens. In addition, an individual access code can be stored. To enter the code, the numbers are projected onto the surface by light. Marquardt thus follows the trend towards large, closed surfaces with no visible functions, which only emerge when needed. This allows different input options and representations to appear in exactly the same place. The "Application Light" on the inside of the doors proves what such surfaces can do. This LED animation can produce more than ambient light. It is an active, dynamic light that also has assistance functions such as warning light or collision control. In addition, a touch film is integrated in the light strip via which inputs can be made. The finger controls the air currents of the air conditioning system via a slide over the light film. These are fully integrated and no longer have any mechanical levers or wheels. Depending on intensity and degree of heat, the light changes from blue to red. “We use light as a control element,” Hake summarizes.

    Marquardt also uses lighting effects in the DemoCar to showcase the latest drive authorization systems, above all MIDAS: the Marquardt Drive Authorization System is the world's most secure system for preventing all relay attacks on keyless systems, thus making vehicles theft-proof. Efficient but subtle, it works in the background. The demonstrator now displays this technology: a colourful light in the driver's door gradually changes colour as you approach, signalling how the radio waves work. Marquardt also offers access via the mobile phone. “We want to offer a smartphone app with a non-breakable certificate encryption, a sort of ticket system via Bluetooth,” explains Dr. Frank Stier. “If I tap on the app in the smartphone, vehicle and key match the certificate.” Such smart technologies are in particularly high demand on the Asian market, but car-sharing companies, holiday apartment tenants and the building services industry are also interested in them.

    „We want to create provocative use cases to encourage discussions with customers.“
    Dr. Frank Stier, Head of Innovations

    As such, the demonstrator is also an exciting vehicle for other business areas. However, it does not have only a representative function, stresses Dr. Frank Stier. “We also want to create provocative use cases to encourage discussions with customers: what is really needed, where should the journey take us, what do manufacturers think of this or that idea? We have also built a considerable body of know-how by using new technologies in the development. This is how Marquardt wants to contribute to making leading global brands even more successful. And make the future palpable using the DemoCar.

    Contact

    Marquardt GmbH
    Schloss-Straße 16
    78604 Rietheim-Weilheim
    Germany

    Phone +49 74 24 / 99-0
    Fax +49 74 24 / 99-23 99