Let’s activate our surfaces for disruptive experiences!

Surface activation is a key topic for FORVIA’s teams working on the next generation of car interiors and has therefore recently been defined as a new Division within the group. At this occasion, we have interviewed one of the FORVIA’s talent - Augustin Dufour – who is leading the Surface Activation Division. He tells us more about Surface Activation: the ambition of his team, the way forward and the opportunities ahead.

First, can you explain what “Surface activation” is?

FORVIA Interiors, our Business Group dedicated to car interiors, already supplies about 5 square meters (50 square feet) of surfaces inside the car, in permanent reach and sight of the vehicle’s occupants. This gives our “Interiors” team a prime position to address the ongoing cockpit (or car interior experience in other words) revolution. Until now, these surfaces were designed with safety and aesthetics in mind. With new technologies becoming available, these surfaces can be “functionalized” and be activated to produce light, heat, command, sound… In other words, through this activation, surfaces are now shaping the occupants’ experience within the cockpit. This transformation is achieved through the seamless integration and fusion of functional modules provided by other FORVIA Business Groups. 

As one company, FORVIA can propose a unique value proposition in this domain to the car manufacturers and to the drivers & passengers, in full consistency with FORVIA’s stated ambition to “pioneer technology for mobility experiences that matter to people”. At FORVIA, we master both functionalities and surfaces, with key competences in integration. Surface activation leverages all our competences to create vehicle differentiation for our customers and provide a unique onboard experience to the end users.

In the field of the occupant’s cockpit experience, we want to create more intuitive, interactive, and personal experiences through what we call a PHYGITAL cockpit at the convergence between the PHYsical and diGITAL realms. This includes smart and dynamic lighting combined with sound, shy tech (meaning minimalistic surfaces to reduce cognitive overload), and intuitive human to machine interactions (like voice control or commands through gestures), personalized cocoon with heating and cooling, and digital continuity for all passengers through convenient smartphone integration.

Can you tell us more about your offer and competitive advantage? 

We have identified 5 areas of focus for activated surfaces:
•    Lighting, via smart lighting solutions integration with HELLA Interior Lighting,
•    Sensing, through haptic devices, films and wireless charging & smartphone integration (Bring Your Own Device, BYOD),
•    Heating, with the integration of radiant elements within the surfaces,
•    Viewing, with a focus on the projection of images on surfaces,
•    Immersive audio, via smart integration of sound solution with FORVIA Electronics.
As we integrate additional content and functionalities in our surfaces, we are joining forces between FORVIA Interiors, Electronics and Hella Interior lighting. As we are stronger together, we offer one voice to the customer, and we provide synergized and harmonized solutions through the merge of our different experience domains. This is where we differentiate from competition and have a unique positioning on the market.  

As an inspiration, let’s have a look at a short video. It will give you a flavor of Surface Activation.


Let’s activate our surfaces for disruptive experiences!
Surface activation
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