Case Study

Case Study

About Client
The client is a Tier 1 supplier of Automotive Seating & Electrical Systems
Business and Technology Context

Mechatronics is a multi-disciplinary, professional engineering field that combines mechanical, electrical, control and computer engineering that is being used in different fields of production process and final products. Automotive production has seen an increased uptake in its application, especially in the field of seating where factors like improvement of ergonomics, user comfort and enhanced seating control, play an important role in determining consumer satisfaction.

Seats play a critical role in enhancing a driver’s and the passenger’s experience. With increasing travelling hours, consumers today are more conscious about maintaining the correct sitting posture while driving.

To address these consumer needs and to bring about consumer delight, the client wanted to develop a prototype system for automatic seat control. This system was envisaged to include automatic head rest adjustment, cushion extender and seat travel limiter without manual intervention. The client was looking for a partner who could take the complete onus of the research & development program. The client was aware of KPIT's capability in product development as well as domain expertise in control systems and mechanical engineering.

Hence KPIT was chosen for executing the complete system design as well as for prototyping the development for automatic seat control. Our global team of technology and management experts helped the client to design, develop and validate the automatic seat control prototype.

KPIT's Solution

KPIT developed a complete system design, right from capturing the functional requirements and benchmarking sensors, to integrating the developed solution in the existing manual seat. Mechatronics principles were applied during the development of this solution.

The features developed were:
Automatic head rest control, based on user’s height
Automatic cushion extender based on user’s leg spacing
Seat travel limiter based on obstacle sensing at the back of the seat
Proximity sensor for height detection and object detection
Seat axis control based on brushed DC motor

Self-adjusting head restraint

Self-adjusting cushion length extender

Seat Travel Limiter
KPIT performed the following key activities

Handmade proximity sensor design for different applications
Analysis of manual control seat for sensor fitting feasibility, controlling motor and ECU placement
Benchmarking capacitive sensor driver Integrated Circuit (IC) with better proximity and noise handling based on environment condition
Design and development of ECU hardware for multiple application with sensor and brushed DC motor interface
Design and development of three software applications with common platform and middle layer
System testing of applications in the actual seat 
Challenges Faced

  • Ensuring that the automatic seat control sensing happened gradually and also not too frequently to avoid driver distraction
  • Designing of a flexible Printed Circuit Board(PCB)for capacitance sensor
  • Benchmarking capacitive sensor IC for better proximity and noise handling capability
  • While benchmarking IC, real world scenarios like stray capacitance of environment and temperature effect on capacitive sensors had to be considered. KPIT took necessary steps to ensure environmental shielding
Key Success Factors

In a record time of 4 months, successful working prototype with solution mechanically fitted in a seat
Multiple features and applications were implemented through a single ECU to give a cost advantage
End-to-End design and development of capacitive sensors was achieved with flexible PCB, system integration, testing and validation


Tags: Seat control, automatic seat control, automotive seating, mechatronics, capacitive sensors, seating, seat design, Self-adjusting head restraint, Self-adjusting cushion length extender, Seat Travel Limiter, benchmarking, seating R&D

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CIN: L72200PN1990PLC059594