Comfortable, functional, full of character

14. August 2019 – DRÄXLMAIER interior specialist Otmar Rauchensteiner explains how automobile interiors are changing.

If cars are self-propelled in the future, passengers will have plenty of time for other things. Cars will become mobile offices, living-rooms or cafés. What will the interiors for these things look like?
Otmar Rauchensteiner: The significance of interiors will definitely increase. With autonomous driving, passengers will expect completely new ways of using car interiors. The focus will not only be on individualization, but also on high-quality appearance and perfect workmanship, since passengers will have more time and leisure to see what amenities they have in their cars.

What interior concepts will we be seeing in car-sharing vehicles?  
In both car-sharing and robotaxis, several customers will use the car within a short space of time. Soiling and ways of avoiding soiling will be an important issue, e.g. with easy-care or maybe even self-cleaning surfaces.

What are the trends that will shape the interior in 10 years’ time?
We have found that car buyers, including our customers, are becoming more concerned about the car’s ecological footprint. Tesla, for example, is not offering any leather-covered equipment, they only have artificial leather surfaces. But is that really the better solution? Is leather as an abattoir byproduct less sustainable than artificial leather that is made with a high degree of energy and resource consumption?

Will we be seeing completely new materials in cars in the future?
There are interesting innovative textiles that are being used today, for things such as athletic shoes, like the self-cleaning textiles we already mentioned.

Where do you and your team get your inspiration for future interior trends?
We’re on the lookout worldwide – at furniture and sports fairs or at textile events – to pick up current trends. Of course we also get inspiration straight from our customers and partners. We discuss research and advance development issues with them and never fail to find new approaches.

The whole interview appeared in the Automobil Industrie journal.

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