Innovation is all about answering the question: “What if?” For example, what if we could transfer the latest research designed to precisely monitor and control building environments to vehicle environments? Questions like this are driving the future of mobility for Lear Innovation Ventures (LIV). This new CBE partner is focused on accelerating the pace of innovation and collaboration around autonomous, connected, electrified and shared mobility trends.

In today’s vehicles, the rider can use multiple controls to warm or cool the cabin or seat. But what if a vehicle could continuously monitor the temperature of each rider, automatically keeping each person comfortable without any effort on his or her part?

Climbing in your truck to escape the icy cold? The vehicle would automatically warm your feet and seat, and then adjust to maintain the perfect temperature as you warm up. Jumping in the car for a trip to the beach? The vehicle’s systems would automatically cool you off without chilling you down. It’s possible. Sophisticated sensors and wireless technology could become part of the very seats we sit in. Scientific mapping of body segments is revealing how applying heat or cold to small areas most effectively leads to overall comfort.

These innovations would be especially welcome for ride-sharing and shared mobility situations, where preferences change with each rider and a positive and comfortable user experience becomes the main differentiator. New safety features can be introduced, such as adjusting the in-cabin temperature to help wake a sleepy driver. In addition, the concept may improve the vehicle’s energy efficiency. Less energy would be wasted in over-heating or over-cooling the cabin, allowing more energy to get you to your destination.

Although CBE was established to support the building industry, LIV is finding meaningful synergies for the automotive world.

“LIV creates an environment for asking big questions and finding the best solutions. We are investing in advanced development teams, partnerships and early-stage technologies by working with venture capital firms, accelerators and incubators,” said John Absmeier, LIV’s leader and Lear’s Chief Technology Officer. “Partnering with university-based groups like CBE helps us tap into world-changing research, fresh ideas and forward-thinking possibilities. We are excited to begin our collaborative journey with the team at CBE.”

Launched in January, LIV is backed by more than an century of automotive expertise and the 169,000-member global team at Lear Corporation. In only a few months, the enterprise has announced strategic partnerships with a number of innovation accelerator programs, including Techstars in Detroit, Maniv Mobility in Israel, and Plug and Play near LIV’s Silicon Valley office.

Feature image courtesy of Lear Corporation.

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