A significant trend that is expanding rapidly is features designed to make occupants inside the vehicle more comfortable. Collectively known as body electronics, these comfort and convenience systems allow vehicle occupants to feel comfortable inside the vehicle, and enable them to conveniently adjust various settings. Body electronics include a wide range of systems, some of which are available in almost all car models, while others are available only in premium cars, and yet other systems are still in development.
Note that body electronics systems comprise not only systems inside the car but also access systems that enable occupants to enter and exit more easily and securely. Society takes for granted some of the conveniences available in modern automobiles.
Take for example heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, now found in almost all vehicles. Another example is power windows; just a decade ago, many passenger cars came equipped with a lever beneath the window, which occupants had to crank in order to move the window up and down.
However, in today’s vehicles, windows can be effortlessly moved up and down with a switch. Furthermore, some window systems incorporate an anti-pinch feature to detect obstructions while the window is closing and automatically opens the window.
Many vehicles now come equipped with power seats; instead of moving the seat manually with levers, occupants use switches to adjust the seat height, distance from the pedals, seat tilt and headrest position.
Premium vehicles also include features such as lumbar support and seat length and width adjustment. Moreover, these vehicles also have dynamic seat control, a feature that prevents passengers from slipping in the front seats while the car is making a turn. All these position adjustments are realized using direct current (DC) motors fitted inside the seats.
Semiconductor technology mounted in seat control modules control these DC motors. In addition, power seats with memory include sensors that allow the seat to move to a specific position with the touch of a button.
Auto-dimming rearview interior and side mirrors also fall within the body electronics category as well. Auto-dimming technology is designed to reduce the brightness of reflected light coming from headlights behind the vehicle during nighttime driving; this prevents glare in the driver’s eyes.
While drivers can manually adjust mirrors to prevent glare, auto-dimming mirrors rely on optical sensors and a special electrochromic gel inside them. From remote keyless entry (RKE) to passive entry passive start (PEPS) systems, car access systems have made entry into vehicles effortless, convenient and secure.
These systems use radio frequency (RF) signals to enable the locking and unlocking of doors and the starting of the engine with a press of a button. Some systems enable drivers to start the engine from outside the vehicle so the interior is heated or cooled before anyone even enters it.
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