Darcy Foster • Ever wanted to option your car with a fluorescent purple interior straight out the factory?
Conventional car seat covers could soon be a thing of the past as Ford looks to implement '3D knitting' in its interior trimming.
By experimenting with technologies prevalent in the manufacture of clothes and running shoes, Ford has created a way of using wool, polyester, or even silk to ‘print’ its own seat covers.
Dubbed ‘human-centric design’, Ford says the process is aimed at allowing more customisation for buyers keen to stand out – and its customers would be included in the design process.
It is also said to be more environmentally-friendly than current methods of seat cover production, and could potentially accommodate driver controls or even charge your mobile phone.
Ford has previously highlighted its use of recyclable materials in the EcoSport SUV, which uses yarn from reused plastic bottles in its floor mats.
Similarly, the BMW i3’s wooden interior trim is manufactured from Eucalyptus trees certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSO) which ensures environmentally-friendly forestry, while Fisker’s new SUV is said to extensively incorporate recycled materials in its design.
Speaking on the 3D knitting process, Amko Leenarts, design director of Ford Europe, said “Human-centric design is all about inspiration, ideation and making".
"It begins from our first thought and can, with the new technologies we are exploring, harness that first thought so it can be more effectively shared with others – as a 360° sketch.
"It is a philosophy that runs through the ability to specify details that can be perfectly tailored to everyone inside the car, whatever their specific needs and desires.”
This means the seats could be fitted with pockets for added practicality, or fabric specifically for pets, for example.
No word if or when this technology may be implemented, but it could offer customers boundless customisation cheaply and in a more environmentally-friendly way than is currently available.