Does anyone want/need a Bluetooth car seat?

I often think that companies are taking things too far when it comes to gadgets in cars. I usually come around once I experience them, but there are still many that I’ll happily live without. If the Bluetooth seat becomes a reality, then it’ll quite possibly be one of them.

From Autoblog:

To get your seat fitted perfectly to your body without having to touch any of its controls, you enter your information into the SmartFit app: gender, height, weight, reach and a picture of yourself sitting down. The data will be uploaded to Faurecia’s system, which will work out “your tailored comfort profile,” then send that via Bluetooth to the car’s seat, and the chair will automatically shape-shift to hold you just like you like.

Isn’t that what the memory button is for on an electric seat?

But there’s more….. and the “aaaaah” moment comes when you see the Bluetooth seat equivalent of “Do you want fries with that?”

The app includes adjustments for specialized conditions like back stiffness and leg or thermal discomfort. Going even further, Faurecia imagines you could purchase enhanced seating functions like Shiatsu massage, IsoHeat treatment and “workout relief.”

I have no doubt that some people will buy into this. I don’t see myself as one of them, but each to their own. Personally I’d prefer seat designers to build in some base-level real life comfort. So many car companies settle for a poor job when it comes to seats and getting that right in the first place would satisfy a lot more people.

It wouldn’t have the pizazz of writing Shiatsu Seats in the sales brochure, however.

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13 Comments

  1. I just can’t imagine keeping one of these cars on the road at 20+ years old like I can my 1991 Saab 900 Turbo Convertible.

    I’m with you. I don’t even like the Bluetooth for the car hands free system, much less something fiddly like this. Silly.

  2. I think Bluetooth can be a great thing: my V60 has a Bluetooth solution that allows me to play the Spotify playlists in my Spotify iPhone app via my car stereo. Great stuff.

    But Bluetooth seats? Mweh. Sounds like a feature for very, very lazy people. Also, I don’t really see how the massage feature is so new: Volvo already offers massage seats in the S80 and XC90.

  3. Strip away all the marketing BS and it sounds good. The technology is robust, so in principle I wouldn’t have any worries about how it would work 10 or 20 years later. The mechanicals will go before anything else anyway, I would have thought. But you are right again, Swade: why not just make the seats the best they can be as standard.

  4. The whole Bluetooth thing is a gimmick, obviously, and so is the idea of contacting a server to look-up a seating position. Why add a Bluetooth module to your seats when modern cars already have Bluetooth and networked seats?

    That being said, I approve of anything that makes consumers more aware of the importance of good seats.

  5. As Bernard says, thae whole thing is a bloated remote for your seat.

    First. I’m no BT expert but can you “pair” your phone to two different devices at the same time? If the answer is no, how will you pair your phone to the seat while normally is automatically paired to your car ?

    Second: I think the Iphone 5 or any current Galaxy Models is able to calculate your “ideal” seat position. Why do I need to send my data to a server? And even to make in-app purchases for “special” seat configurations, there is no need to send any other data to the (itunes/Googleplay)server other than the buy request.

    Third: How do you make a picture of yourself siting with a Smartphone, where your contour has to fit with a certain shape?

    And at the end of the day it is interesting to see a company like Faurecia making a consumer oriented video for a product none of us can buy. You will always have to accept the seat your carmaker decides its best for you.

    My verdict, this should go to the same museum as the nuclear powered cars of the ’60s.

    1. Yes, you can have several devices paired at the same time. As an example, your computer can be paired with a mouse, a keyboard, and a trackpad at the same time.

      I haven’t read any of the spec about this thing, but how do you pair? To me it seems like the phone is the “dumb” device and the seat the one that will get data. Then I would want security, otherwise anyone with a BT device can try to pair with my seat (fun in a parking lot…). How do you set up a secure connection? Normally in case of a keyboard, a computer shows a code and you type that code on the keyboard. Also, can several people in a household all pair their phones with the seat? But wait, that is already solved with seat memory…

      Also, the idea that my measurement would create an optimum position sounds funny. It may at most create a starting position for me to figure out something comfortable. And using a phone and BT for that sounds overly complicated, because how often do I do that on the seat in my car? One time, the first day I own the car?

      1. “……how often do I do that on the seat in my car? One time, the first day I own the car?”

        Don’t be so conservative, Faurecia wants to earn some money selling you “seat positions”!!! Embrace the future 😉

  6. “One time, the first day I own the car?”

    Exactly, and any good dealer should help you with that upon delivery.

    Two thoughts:
    Seats could have weight/stress sensors to actively adjust to your sitting position in real time. It would be easy enough to checks if you have enough lower back support, or knee support (one of my pet peeves is car seats that leave your knees up in the air). That’s the sort of feature that usually shows-up first on big German sedans (new S-Klasse due next year…). Alternatively, dealers could have one instrumented seat and then download the data to your car.

    None of this matters if the seat itself isn’t any good. As with any other product, adding features doesn’t necessarily add functionality. Most of the time, excess features are there to mask fundamental shortcoming, like having a camera with 20 “expert modes” that can’t focus where you want.

  7. Other than the issue of personal data protection- a problem that in the last decade or so degenerated from entrusting the selected handful some inocent bits of personal data to whole systems/corporations (ekhm Facebook….) that are wirtualy out of control manipulating with wast amounts of personal data – I don’t see a problem with that. It’s like ESP or ABS. At first these systems were an insult to some almighty all knowing drivers, now they are deemed essential for safety of cars. I see people every day sitting in their cars in wrong positions – getting them properly sitted could only do them good.

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