Wixom's Kiekert Developing Autonomous Door Systems
Posted to www.AdvancedManufacturing.org October 26, 2017
WIXOM, Mich. – Cars of the future always will be more intelligent and they also will be able to drive autonomously.
Kiekert, the technology leader in automotive locking systems, is developing intelligent products for the future to support the “Autonomous Driving” trend, as well as other trends. With its “autonomous door” concept, Kiekert has taken a decisive step in this direction: a combination of the latest Kiekert technologies and innovations─the Kiekert NuEntry electric door latch, Kiekert’s i-protect and i-move.
Kiekert’s vision for car doors of the future is based on more than 100 years of research and development work. Celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, the German auto supplier has grown from a small local business to a global partner for the industry’s leading automakers.
In its 160-year history, Kiekert has developed and produced well over 1.9 billion latches for the international automotive industry and managed to provide innovative safety, comfort and efficiency solutions: starting with the mechanical latch up to the modern electric access NuEntry-Latch, and from micro actuators for locking and unlocking functions to the electrical comfort actuator for side doors — i-move. The automotive supplier’s latest product solutions also include the electromagnetic brake system i-protect with dynamic environment recognition.
Kiekert currently is combining these three technologies into the autonomous door, which raises access to the vehicle to a new level. With Kiekert’s vision of the autonomous door, entering a car becomes much more convenient: the NuEntry electric door latch allows automatic opening of the vehicle door using a fingertip or even digital devices (e.g. smartphones).
An important step towards the self-opening door is Kiekert’s i-move, which allows automatic opening and completes the closing process. The opening process of the door is completed with the Kiekert i-protect, a modernized sensor system for dynamic field recognition coupled with an innovative door brake system.
Kiekert’s NuEntry-Latch eliminates the need for door handles, reducing the weight and complexity of locking systems, while improving door design. Kiekert’s NuEntry-Latch allows use of the latest technologies, such as outdoor touch sensors or smartphones. Kiekert’s NuEntry-Latch has a modular full mechanical redundancy (TCR), which allows the latch to retain complete functionality, even in the event of a power failure.
The latest Kiekert i-protect prototype utilizes a modernized sensor system for environmental identification and an innovative door brake system to detect dynamic obstacles in the vicinity of the door. An innovative door brake system electromechanically stops the car door in front of the obstacle, if required, with an accuracy of one centimeter. Troubles when getting in and out of the car due to narrow parking spaces, garages, parsers or inattentive traffic, as well as costly scratches and dents, will be a thing of the past.
Kiekert’s i-move “intelligent movement“ system provides a comfortable, automatically driven opening and closing action for the car door, similar to automated opening and closing of rear hatches. Pressing a button in the vehicle starts the process of door movement, opening up a new dimension of comfort for all ages.
Kiekert maintains a development and manufacturing center in Wixom, Michigan, that serves as the company’s lead engineering and program management center for the NAFTA region. Together with a sister plant in Mexico, the Wixom location is responsible for more than $250 million in annual revenue. Recent improvements have nearly tripled production at the Wixom plant from 350,000 door-latch modules in 2013 to more than one million units last year.