Future of Automotive Interiors Conference examines key trends that will change passenger cabins

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This week’s Future of Automotive Interiors Conference in Novi, Michigan, has been examining the impact autonomy will have on passenger spaces, as well as discussing the future of automotive interiors in general.

The first day’s proceedings kicked off with a talk by Colin Giles, technical research analyst at data and market research company IHS Markit. He explained how vehicle interiors – including seating, trim and interior functionality – will be influenced and changed by current automotive trends like electrification and the future that is possible with vehicle autonomy.

Giles said that the last couple of years have seen a great revolution in the interiors of volume manufacturers and luxury manufacturers alike, with the latter really being stimulated by the big advances that volume manufacturers have made.

He then continued to present the findings of IHS Markit’s research, in which researchers talked to insiders at major automotive suppliers and OEMs about the trends we’ll see in the coming years. One of those major trends will be automation.

According to Giles, “Autonomy is poised to redefine what it means to be inside a vehicle. People are looking more toward their cars being mobile living spaces that will get them from A to B. But at the same time, these kinds of vehicles have very high development costs and it’s going to challenge planners to find the right features they want to add to their interiors, because making the wrong bet on something could lose you a lot of money.”

He then moved on to discuss some of the “transformative changes that we will be able to see in automotive interiors going forward”. One of the main pillars of that will be configurable interior layouts. According to IHS Markit’s research, this will be one of the first to reach the market, particularly as this type of feature is already available in some commercial vehicles.

Giles’ general overview of trends in the automotive industry and how they may affect automotive interiors paved the way for the rest of the day, allowing speakers to go into detail on topics such as the materials that interiors of the future will use and the detail of how increased autonomy will transform vehicle cabins.

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