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FlexEnable bending the rules on interiors

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The Yanfeng car which FlexEnable are collaborating on
The Yanfeng car which FlexEnable are collaborating on

A Cambridge company is at the cutting edge of revolutionary interiors for driverless cars after producing a glass-free display that can be bent into any shape.

FlexEnable, on the Cambridge Science Park in Milton Road, is working with US-based Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, the world’s leading supplier of instrument panels and cockpit systems, on creating an innovative A-pillar concept for its demonstrator vehicle.

FlexEnable has come up with a 12.1in glass-free, conformable organic liquid crystal display (LCD) that has been incorporated into the car’s A-pillar to improve visibility and safety.

With a radius of curve that can go to below three centimetres, the ultra-thin and lightweight displays can be applied to curved surfaces in cars where glass-based versions will not work. Due to the use of low-cost plastics and the low-temperature manufacturing process, FlexEnable’s technology is the lowest cost-flexible display available.

Yanfeng’s demonstrator vehicle was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month. The XiM17 interior features a system that allows for flexibility to support multiple seat and floor console positions, allowing the owner to work without the hassle of driving.

Chuck Milligan, CEO of FlexEnable, said: “There is an emerging trend in automotive for more displays and enhanced HMI (human-machine interface) which will impact car interior design.

“Plastic LCDs are an excellent option for OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) and car brands as they can conform naturally to the curved surfaces of the car to enhance visibility and safety.

“FlexEnable’s technology removes the constraints of glass while providing the same display quality and reliability customers have come to expect from LCD displays.”

FlexEnable has pioneered the world’s first flexible electronics technology platform. It enables electronics made of organic materials to be manufactured on flexible plastic film the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Compatible with existing manufacturing lines, it is the key to flexible and cost-effective electronics over large and small surfaces.

The core applications of this technology are glass-free, flexible displays and sensors that allow for the production of game-changing products across a variety of industries including consumer electronics, mobile, wearables, automotive, medical and security.

FlexEnable’s customers include OEMs, component manufacturers and materials suppliers.

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