Jaguar Land Rover has announced that it is developing the Lightweight Electronics in Simplified Architecture (LESA) research technology, which is used in curved OLED TVs, for car interiors.
The OEM hopes that the work of its structural electronics research team could eventually allow dashboards to be replaced by curved screens and let drivers customize interiors thanks to color changing body panels.
With LESA technology, Jaguar Land Rover will be able to manufacture body panel displays to show information only when needed to help designers achieve streamlined and buttonless designs for future cars. Such designs may include customizable interior ambient lighting systems, body controls, wraparound button-less dashboards and advanced fabric/leather heated steering wheels.
The innovative printed electronics system will also reduce the weight of in-car electronics by up to 60% as wiring, sensors and computing is contained within all non-metal materials, removing the need for extra packaging space for control units.
Features using the award-winning LESA technology would be created using a faster, simpler and more automated process; be more flexible in usage; and offer technological advancements – such as making digital displays appear on surfaces like wood without the need for a screen. It also makes adding solar panels to the vehicle possible without adding extra system weight to the car. The renewable power generated from the sun could then be used to recharge the battery.
Jaguar Land Rover has successfully trialled LESA technology on an overhead control panel prototype, achieving a weight reduction of 60% and minimizing the part size from 50mm to 3.5mm. The research was awarded an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Award with judges praising it as “the future of electronics in the car”.
Ashutosh Tomar, Jaguar Land Rover electrical research technical manager, said, “Healthcare, aerospace, consumer technology and military industries are already harnessing the benefits of structural electronics and our research is leading the way in the automotive sector by bringing it into the cabin for the first time. We believe LESA represents the future of vehicle electronics and will enable us to design and manufacture innovative, flexible and customisable cabins for our customers while also reducing weight and cost during production helping us reach Destination Zero.”