Drivers, start your seating positions. Future car seats could be adjusted to your precise preferences with a Bluetooth smartphone app.
We’re all built differently, so we all like our driver’s seat settings to be a little different to everybody else’s. And that could be achieved with scientific precision, if a new Bluetooth seat system hits the market. The SmartFit seat might sound like some small-scale tech start-up’s experimental pipe dream.
But you have to take notice when it’s being developed by seat manufacturer Faurecia, which has 238 factories and 38 R&D centres throughout 33 countries – and supplies seats to the world’s auto giants, including Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW and Hyundai-Kia.
Faurecia’s smartphone-based technology asks you to enter your height and weight, then get somebody to take a photo of you seated – with the phone’s internal sensors measuring specific distances and angles. The app compiles all the data, calculates your perfect seating position, and sends it via Bluetooth to the SmartFit seat.
You can set up separate position profiles for different drivers or driving tasks: sports car drivers will look for a tighter position if they indulge in track days, or perhaps a more relaxed posture for long highway trips. Have a sore back? Dial up more lumbar support or a heated massage.
No more spending the first part of the journey fiddling to get the perfect set-up after somebody else has used the car. And that makes for a more comfortable – and safer – driver. Faurecia believes the system could even be used for future buyers to order specific seat measurements and calibrations as easily as ordering the upholstery colour is done today.