Motherson announces collaboration with startups Dycotec and Sensel to add solutions to its smart surface portfolio


The interior of the vehicle is changing for the better as the need for seamless and stylish solutions expands. The Motherson Group (Uttar Pradesh, India), a global Tier-1 automotive supplier, has a strong focus in smart surface solutions and enhancing the user experience. Now, the company is announcing two separate collaborations with startups whose technology is expected to add valued solutions to the group’s smart surface portfolio. One collaboration is with Sensel, a company with a focus in interactive touch technologies. The second collaboration is with Dycotec Materials, a UK based advanced materials startup which is developing and manufacturing transparent and non-transparent conductive, insulator and barrier layer inks and coatings. Motherson met both companies through Program 10 of Startup Autobahn Powered by Plug and Play.

Motherson and Sensel have been working together on a seamlessly integrated touchpad underneath a premium leather. The solution is both aesthetically pleasing in design and unique in the intuitive operation of the touchpad. “It is a pleasure working with Sensel,” says Thomas A. Nugraha, senior engineer at Motherson. ”We are amazed by the compact design of Sensel’s solution which provides not only touch but also haptic feedback for intuitive user interaction.” Although the activities are ongoing, the parties are hopeful that a working prototype will demonstrate the seamless buttonless touchpad that can be integrated as HMI components within the group’s smart surface solution offering.

“Sensel’s complete solution combines proprietary touch sensors, force sensors, and powerful haptics. Its technology works under flat or curved surfaces made from a wide-range of materials, including leather or wood, making it an ideal fit for automotive consoles. With this proof of concept, Motherson beautifully illustrates how smart surface solutions like our Haptic Touchpad will someday benefit drivers,” says Sensel CEO and co-founder Ilya Rosenberg. “It’s clear that Motherson understands where the future of automotive HMI is headed. It was extremely rewarding to work with such a forward looking team.”

In addition, Motherson and Dycotec are developing a highly transmissive, while maintaining high conductivity, high-resolution transparent touch sensor which can be combined with backlighting. The transparent capacitive touch sensor will offer a unique interaction between the user and smart surface. Thomas A. Nugraha explained: “This solution provides cutting-edge touch technology that when combined with translucent surface and dynamic backlighting, provides new interactivity between user and smart surfaces.

To support the development, Dycotec Materials have provided a range of screen printable products including silver, silver nanowire transparent, transparent overcoat and carbon pastes to build the multilayer capacitive touch screen sensors. Dr Ian Clark, commercial director, stated: “We are delighted to be working with Motherson and extending our broad range of developments in the automotive sector. Our extensive product range of printed electronics materials enables us to provide all the required material sets needed for this innovative device.”

“Motherson sees the importance of working with startups on innovative topics, and we believe that solutions, such as the ones coming from these two collaborations, will enhance the consumer experience and ultimately bring value to our customers’” explained Timo Schwarz, CTO at Motherson Innovations.

The buttonless touchpad and high-resolution touch sensor have been presented for the first time at the Start-up Autobahn EXPO 10 on the 22nd of July in 2021.

Caption: Dycotec have used their innovative advanced materials product portfolio for the manufacture of a touchpad for smart surfaces incorporated into premium leather for automotive (photo: Dycotec Materials)

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