I recently attended the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, and among the numerous displays of production and concept cars, I came across the booth for the Toyota Boshoku Corporation, who makes seating, interior, and exterior components for vehicles. There, they were showing off a very interesting glimpse into the future of vehicle interiors – specifically for autonomous cars.
Developed in collaboration with AISIN, Denso, Tokai Rika, and Todoya Gosei, the MX191 Concept packs in more than 45 innovations to create a whole new experience inside of its cabin. The “Concierge-in-vehicle” interior is designed to adjust the configuration of its seating based on the needs of its occupants. Since the future may very well include self-driving cars, the idea that you need to face the front window and the steering wheel could go away. The MX191 can turn its interior into a space for relaxation, work, or play, while the car does the hard work of getting you to your destination.
Among its many features, the MX191 has a system that can prepare the vehicle for its occupants. Simply push a button on your smartphone, and it will turn on the climate control and clean the cabin air while the car is still charging up in your parking space. As you approach the car, its privacy e-glass windows become transparent, the doors open, and the front seats rotate outward for ease of entry.
Depending on the drive mode selected, the driver’s seat either remains in a conventional position, or can push back to provide added legroom for work or relaxation. Beyond that, there are several different seating configurations, some which provide greater comfort for each individual, and others to encourage conversation.
The system also envisions heart rate sensors for each passenger, and would automatically adjust its seats into a reclined position if an occupant is getting sleepy. Infrared sensors automatically adjust the vehicle climate control system based on each person’s body temperature as well. One big safety innovation is the in-seat airbag system that can envelop passengers from the front or sides depending on the direction of an impact.
There are lots of other forward-thinking features for comfort and safety as well. The video below features an in-depth explanation of all of the MX191’s features and functions, along with a demonstration of the adjustable seating system:
At this point, there aren’t any production vehicles that are ready to include the seating features of the MX191, but there are certainly elements which are already out there, like the vehicle preconditioning found in some EVs, infrared climate control, already in some Lexus vehicles, and the swivel-out seats for entry and exit, which appear to be similar to those coming to the 2021 Toyota Yaris.