FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Smart technology may not be exactly what you think.
In fact, "smart" could be something else entirely. Especially when it comes to our cars.
For the latest generation of mobility, smart is intuitive and cool. It's comfortable, familiar and functional. It's somehow both electronic and digital, analog and tactile.
"What is 'smart?' It sounds spark-y, it sounds tech-y, it sounds electric. And, in a lot of cases, it is," Jason Hipshier chief innovation engineer with Michigan-based Yanfeng said during the Rubber in Automotive Conference on May 10.
More anything else, though, "smart" is user-focused.
"Everything on the inside of the car touches, faces and impacts the occupant," Hipshier said. "… For us it is being able to take all of these different things under that umbrella and integrate them and find ways to blend them and find new ways to do things to really impact the end consumer. We all love or hate the cars we drive because of that interaction because of that interface."
So as the automotive industry makes its great big transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles—and eventually autonomous vehicles—consumer expectations change.
Those expectations are built around emerging, cutting-edge technologies that transcend the automotive space and encompass arenas like cell phones and smart homes. Those technologies—as well as the sleek, clean designs associated with them—equate to luxury.