Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/100807
Title: SmartPlastic: Innovative Touch-Based Human-Vehicle Interface Sensors for the Automotive Industry
Authors: Alves, Cristiano 
Custódio, Tiago 
Silva, Pedro
Silva, Jorge
Rodrigues, Carlos
Lourenço, Rui
Pessoa, Rui
Moreira, Fernando 
Marques, Ricardo
Tomé, Gonçalo
Falcao, Gabriel 
Keywords: Automotive industry;; Capacitive sensor; Injected plastic;; Plastic button; Polymer;; Self-driving car; Sensors;; Touch button; Touch sensor
Issue Date: 2021
Project: project SPaC (POCI-01-0247-FEDER-038379) 
Instituto de Telecomunicações e FCT UIDB/50008/2020 
Instituto de Telecomunicações e FCT UIDP/50008/2020 
Serial title, monograph or event: Electronics (Switzerland)
Volume: 10
Issue: 11
Abstract: Environmental concern regularly leads to the study and improvement of manufacturing processes and the development of new industrial products. The purpose of this work is to optimize the amount of injected plastic and reduce the number of parts used in the production of entrance panels to control features inside the car cabin. It focuses on a particular case study, namely the control of opening and closing windows and rotation of the rear-view mirrors of a car, maintaining all of the functionality and introducing a futuristic and appealing design inline with new autonomous driving vehicles. For this purpose, distinct low-cost touch sensor technologies were evaluated and the performance of several types of sensors that were integrated with plastic polymers of distinct thickness was analyzed. Discrete sensors coupled to the plastic part were tested and integrated in the injected plastic procedure. In the former, sensitivity tests were performed for finding the maximum plastic thickness detectable by the different sensors. For the latter, experiments were carried out on the sensors subject to very high pressure and temperature inside the molds—the two most relevant characteristics of industrial plastic injection in this context—and functional results were observed later. We conclude that, by changing the way the user interacts with the car cabin, the replacement of conventional mechanical buttons—composed of dozens of parts—by a component consisting of a single plastic part that is associated with conventional low-cost electronics allows the control of a more diversified set of features, including many that are not yet usual in the interior of automobiles today, but that will eventually be required in the near future of autonomous driving, in which the user will interact less with driving and more with other people or services around her/him, namely of the multimedia type. Additionally, the economic factor was considered, namely regarding the cost of the new technology as well as its manufacturing, replacement, and subsequent recycling processes.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/100807
ISSN: 2079-9292
DOI: 10.3390/electronics10111233
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Eng.Electrotécnica - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
I&D IT - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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