Interior supplier Yanfeng has revealed its next step in its effort to attack germs including COVID-19 inside cars.
The China-based company's Experience in Motion 2021 Shared (XiM21S) concept, which is due early next year, will include two ways to battle bugs, Yanfeng Technology Chief Technology Officer Han Hendriks told Automotive News Europe.
The first solution is applying anti-bacterial coatings to kill germs on high-touch areas such as handles.
The second employs an ultraviolet light feature first shown in the XiM20 concept and reported on by ANE last autumn.
"We have launched a technology that uses UVC (ultraviolet-C) light, which has the spectrum that can actually kill 99.9 percent of all bacteria and viruses, including the COVID-19 virus, within a matter of minutes," Hendriks said.
"This is not a light technology that we have invented," the CTO said. "It's being used to clean hospital operating rooms. But we have developed a solution where it can be integrated into the overhead console."
Currently, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
No driver's seat
Hendriks said the XiM21S will use virtually the same platform as the XiM21 that the supplier debuted last month, but the new concept has a different interior architecture.
"For example, there is no driver's seat," he said.
He said the goal to always have a clean interior is a result of workshops with new mobility companies.
"Ideally, they want these shared vehicles, especially when they are autonomous, to drive around 24 hours a day," Hendriks said.
The idea is to have the system perform a 30-second sweep of the germ-killing light on high-touch areas to ensure vehicles such as robotaxis are clean for the next customer.
Hendriks said that Yanfeng already has an aftermarket version of the technology available in China, where it is "highly successful," he added.
"China is an easier market to quickly put these new technologies on the market," Hendriks said. "There is more scrutiny when it comes to safety and liability in North American and Europe, but we are looking at those markets as well."
Yanfeng, based in Shanghai, ranks No. 19 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to auto makers of $12.6 billion in 2019.