Johnson Controls - Kion
In the year 2000, the Kion concept car – introduced at the Mondial de l'Automobil in Paris – presented the automotive interior as the intelligent living space of the future. Kion showed the vehicle as a networked, mobile home – with a great deal of flexibility for diverse requirements. It once again became clear how important a unified approach is for the development and design of vehicle interiors. Only in this way did the interaction of individual elements become a comprehensive whole, with greater benefits and added value for the consumer – "integrated interior" – like the Kion interior.
It was already foreseeable that life in the future would be even faster and more intense, as global networking had created new general conditions. This spatial independence advanced the process of human individualization even further – workspace and leisure space intersect. For this reason, time spent in the car should be used as effectively as possible – whether working, surfing the net, phoning or simply relaxing. In order to do all this, the vehicle interior must offer the corresponding options. For the vehicle this meant that different modes of communication such as telephone, internet or personal digital assistants had to be connected with the automobile interior. The vehicle functioned as an interface with the outside world as well as a communicative space in itself. At the same time, it served as a mobile home and office. Regardless of whether the trip was for working, playing, talking or "merely" driving, the aim was: to get home before you arrive. Therefore, when selecting materials for Kion, the focus was on warm, friendly colours. The design reflected contemporary trends in interior architecture the same way as the fittings which, with a bright, open arrangement and clear contours, ensured that passengers also feel at home when travelling.
source: Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls' Kion Concept Interior Showcases 'Home away from Home' Interior at Paris Auto Show
Company's top product innovations on display at Mondial de l'Automobile show in France
PARIS, FRANCE (September 28, 2000) – "Kion" – a new and innovative automotive concept interior from Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) – makes its worldwide debut today at the Mondial de l'Automobile show in Paris, France. It was unveiled at the company’s booth – #233 located in Hall 4 – at the show.
The Kion features many interior innovations that help bring touches from the home inside a vehicle interior – and provide enhanced comfort, functionality and flexibility targeted at the small to mid-size vehicle segment. Johnson Controls’ designers developed the concept after conducting extensive research on consumer preferences in a number of different European countries. The goal was to find out what people wanted to do in their cars, and then to create an integrated interior solution that blurred the lines between the home and car.
"We have investigated how people will live, work and spend their leisure time, and used these insights to create Kion," said Thomas Patzelt, general manager of product business development for Johnson Controls. "We developed a concept car interior which we believe will meet both the fundamental requirements and desires of consumers in the near future."
It is already foreseeable that life in the future will be even faster paced and more intense, as global networking has created a different world. For this reason, time spent in the car needs to be used as effectively as possible – whether working, surfing the Internet, making phone calls or simply relaxing. In order to do all this, the vehicle interior must offer the options consumers say they want and become an extension of a comfortable, home environment.
For the vehicle, this means that different modes of communication such as telephone, Internet or personal digital assistants must be connected with the automobile interior. The vehicle functions as an interface with the outside world, as well as a communicative space within itself. At the same time, it serves as a mobile home and office – a "home away from home." Regardless of whether a trip is for working, playing, talking or driving, the aim is to accomplish the same things in-vehicle as you can when you arrive at home.
Therefore, when selecting interior materials for Kion, the focus was on warm, friendly colors. The design reflects contemporary trends in interior architecture the same way as the fittings which, with a bright, open arrangement and clear contours, ensure that passengers feel at home when traveling.
Every aspect of the design for Kion points to the core of the interior. Centered like a coffee table between the four seats, the Kion communication center is the electronic and social hub of the concept car. Similar to a typical home’s living room, everyone gathers around one table.
The electronic center can be adapted to suit the individual requirements of different users, as personal data storage media in the shape of credit cards can be fed into the communication center computer system. This is made possible with plug-in modules, through which the central computer software can be converted accordingly. When several people use the same car, as is often the case in families and businesses, the computer can be readily configured to the requirements of the specific user at any time. This also enables the software to be updated as required, which represents a considerable advantage in the face of rapid technological progress.
"With Kion, we would like to demonstrate how we imagine communication in the interior and the linking of the vehicle to the human environment," said Patzelt.
The four infotainment system communication pillars, which are located to the left and right of the instrument panel and the sides of the rear seat, create links across the vehicle interior and to the outside world. Every passenger has his/her own pillar, which can be equipped with an individual display monitor, as well as a microphone, loudspeakers and laptop computer and electronic notepad connection ports.
The communication pillars are connected with the infotainment system’s central computer via Bluetooth technology, so that every vehicle occupant has direct access to the software. Bluetooth eliminates the need for fixed installation of the car phone. New, wireless data transmission means that the driver is now able to hold a telephone conversation during the trip without taking his or her hands off the wheel. This is made possible with the microphone in the communication pillar – no matter if the mobile phone is located in the glove compartment, a person’s briefcase or a jacket.
The Kion communication center is equipped with Johnson Controls’ AutoVision® transportable video entertainment system with an integrated touch screen feature. The system also could be integrated in the instrument panel. This enables passengers to watch television, play video games or surf the internet during a trip.
In contrast to the often-cluttered appearance of the instrument panel in many vehicles, the Kion cockpit has been given a clean, simple appearance. Particularly noticeable is the dual-plane instrument cluster which Johnson Controls developed in cooperation with Sagem, a French auto supplier. This new design involves the separation of "primary" vehicle information, such as the odometer and fuel level from secondary information such as temperature, oil level, time and navigation systems.
As well as data displays, the instrument panel provides ample storage space. The front-seat passenger cockpit is equipped with three storage compartments which can be removed separately and taken outside the vehicle. A small table with cup holders has been integrated into the middle of the cockpit and can be folded away when necessary.
Johnson Controls optimized comfort with the new concept car seating system. Instead of traditional seat positioning achieved by adjusting height and length, Kion seats can be intuitively adjusted. This means that they can be electronically adapted until a specific, predefined seating position is reached. The driver and front seat passenger can then switch the system to intuitive control and the seat automatically responds to body movements. Seat cushions and backrests can be electrically controlled to adjust to the optimum ergonomic shape for every body position. This is made possible by the seats new sensor covers. To provide optimum protection to the occupants, the seat has an integrated belt, side airbag and anti-submarining device – which helps keep passengers from sliding under their seatbelts in a collision situation.
Instead of attaching to rails on the vehicle’s floor, both front seats in the Kion are fixed on three feet. This creates a completely new feeling of space when getting into the vehicle. The concave shape of the rear seat, which makes it easier for passengers at the back of the vehicle to establish eye contact and communicate with one another, also contributes to this effect. Thanks to the pillars positioned on both sides of the rear seat, passengers in back also have sufficient storage space, as well as their own communication system.
More space is available in the trunk than those inside conventional vehicles due to a new suspension specially designed for the Kion by Michelin. In addition, Michelin’s PAX-System "run-flat" tires are used, eliminating the need for a spare tire. As a result, additional trunk space is gained and can be used to store a wide range of cargo.
The rear seat back can be pushed over the rear seat bench and slid forward against the front seats. In the process, the rear bench seat cushion disappears into the rear seat floor space. This means larger objects can be transported with ease, and without having to dismantle or remove the rear row of seats. Alternatively, the backrest can also be pushed into the middle of the seat cushion – the so-called child seat position. This adjustment creates more room for luggage in the trunk, while children sit comfortably on the rear seat.
In addition, fold-out partitions ensure more order in the trunk space. Kion comes with three attractive shoulder bags attached to the back of the rear seat because often people would like to take items from their vehicle, but may not have anything in which to carry them. The bags – made of neoprene – can be detached and are easy to carry.
With Kion, the doors are designed to be plain and simple, providing individual storage space for newspapers, cards, cups or wallets. There are no B-pillars, and the car’s doors open from the middle of the vehicle. Not only does this provide easy access; just by opening the doors the vehicle users experience a completely new feeling of spaciousness.
The indirect, ambient lighting integrated in the vehicle’s A and C pillars creates a pleasant, home-like atmosphere. The SunTracker® sun visor runs along a rail over the front windshield to the side windows and can be manually operated with ease. A single move positions the sun visor where the driver requires to provide a shield against the sun.
The synergies between Johnson Controls and Michelin allow the generation of intelligent space. The new rear compartment definition supports customer platform strategies by reducing the "body-in-white" modifications for the different vehicle body types.
To meet various consumer requirements and expectations, Johnson Controls has developed virtual models of Kion for two other vehicle types. The minivan solution has six seats. The middle and rear rows of seats can each be separated in the middle to enable larger objects to be transported inside the vehicle without difficulty. In addition, the third row can be folded level with the floor of the vehicle.
With four seats, the more stylish coupé version has a futuristic looking center stack. Corresponding devices in the trunk, such as fold-out boxes and partitions, ensure that the interior also meets expectations with respect to transport capability.
Kion shows the vehicle as a networked, mobile home-away-from-home environment – with a great deal of flexibility for diverse requirements.
Patzelt said it clearly demonstrates how important a unified approach is for the development and design of a vehicle interior.
"The Kion’s integrated interior shows how the interaction of individual elements become a comprehensive whole with greater benefits and added value for consumers," he said. "For us, Kion is an exercise that really provides a stimulus to gather opinions and new ideas so that we can make future vehicle interiors more comfortable, useful and flexible."
The Plymouth, Michigan-based automotive business of Johnson Controls – which employs more than 65,000 people at 275 facilities worldwide – achieved US$12.1 billion in sales for the 1999 fiscal year. In model-year 2000, it will supply interior products for more than 23 million vehicles.
Johnson Controls, Inc. is a global market leader in automotive systems and facility management and control. In the automotive market, it is a major supplier of seating and interior systems, and batteries. For non-residential facilities, Johnson Controls provides building control systems and services, energy management and integrated facility management. Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), founded in 1885, has headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its sales for 1999 totaled US$16.1 billion.
source: Johnson Controls