Zeeland’s Gentex outfits connected car concept for CES

ZEELAND — Gentex Corp. (NASDAQ: GNTX) said it supplied several electronics components for the latest autonomous and connected car concept vehicle from the Swiss car design firm Rinspeed.

The latest vehicle, called Snap, would allow users to summon a vehicle-sized “skateboard” unit containing the powertrain, which would dock with personalized passenger “pods” customized for commuting, shopping, camping, or other uses.For a video of Snap in action, visit https://youtu.be/7MBMCglpsiw.

Snap will debut Jan. 9-12 at CES 2018, formerly known as the International Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, and then will be featured at the Geneva International Motor Show in March.

Rinspeed says separating the vehicle into two components allows the autonomous skateboard to operate continuously, serving multiple customers throughout the day. The chassis are replaced as mechanical components wear out and IT components reach obsolescence.

Meanwhile, the more durable and versatile passenger pods would live on and be personalized for commuting, working, deliveries, and more. They would be useful even when stationary, serving as mobile offices, campers, or secondary living spaces.

The Snap concept is designed to help reduce traffic congestion, enhance overall vehicle lifecycles, and provide a more environmentally friendly mobility model.

For Snap, Gentex developed a vehicle-based biometric identification module that authenticates the passengers and delivers customized security, comfort and convenience features. The system consists of a small module that houses near-infrared emitters, an iris-scanning camera, and software.

With the passenger identified, the biometric system would allow the vehicle to operate and enable personalization by automatically adjusting seat position, HVAC controls, music favorites, GPS locations, and other cabin amenities, according to user-determined presets. The biometric system could also sanction safe, secure access to a host of cloud-based, connected-vehicle services. For instance, an authenticated iris scan could grant the passenger access to work files and virtual meetings, allow for secure banking transactions, and provide added security for in-vehicle trip-related purchases like tolls, vehicle charging and parking.

Gentex’s HomeLink technology, which uses RF and wireless cloud-based connectivity to operate gates, garage doors, security systems, thermostats, home lighting and more, could also be controlled by the biometrics system. Once authenticated, passengers would be able to control all their home automation devices from within the Snap vehicle using the HomeLink Connect app. The biometrics system would provide security and convenience for multiple passengers by activating the unique home automation presets of the vehicle’s various authorized users.

Gentex also provided Gentex dimmable glass panels to shround the many sensors on the vehicle, preserving a clean design look while allowing the placement of cameras, radar, LIDAR and a host of other safety-related sensor systems on the outside of the vehicles.

Founded in 1974, Gentex supplies automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and electronics to the automotive industry, dimmable aircraft windows for aviation markets, and fire protection products to the fire protection market. More at www.gentex.com.

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