Antolin: shaping the future of smart and sustainable interiors
Historically, factors like design, engine power, mechanical quality, and reliability have heavily influenced that decision. Very soon, the user will wait to see how the interior space of his favorite model has been upgraded, what advanced features are incorporated in it, or even which operating system or software versions will control the different functions.
For this reason, it is becoming increasingly common for many of our customers to ask us for interaction in designing new-generation cars from the earliest stages. For years now, brands have been asking us to help them meet the anticipated needs of vehicle users on the road. Only then do they begin to shape the space, to define lines and proportions. In other words, the car of the future will fundamentally put "user experience" ahead of form.
In this scenario, Antolin, as a supplier of interiors, is faced with the challenge of offering manufacturers integrated solutions in which, more and more frequently, we are asked to incorporate a greater number and diversity of technologies. This adds value to our products efficiently and competitively.
It is important to note that many of these technologies have traditionally been outside the automotive sector. This is the case of those related to certain lighting applications, optical engineering, acoustics, detection devices, measurement using sensors for monitoring people and the environment, or, more generally, complex electronic applications at both hardware and software levels.
All this has immediate implications and is redefining the automotive value chain:
- We need to incorporate new professional profiles into our company, coming from technical and scientific areas, mainly from the fields of electronics, computer science, and new data science disciplines.
- The demand for high connectivity applications forces us to a collaborative partnership between technology and automotive companies that make possible, for example, the validation and integration of cloud-based solutions, not only in products but also in production processes, remote software updates, or the generation of services such as those available in other mobile devices.
- The incorporation of this type of increasingly computational resource-intensive functions forces us to reinforce efficiency objectives, making use, for example, of algorithms based on artificial intelligence (AI) for which the training of highly specialized human resources in these fields will also be necessary.
At the same level of demand as the more technological functions, there are other types of demands inside the vehicle that have a high level of impact on the sector. These are those that affect aspects of environmental sustainability with which to contribute to a better use of resources and a lower generation of waste and emissions that minimize the impact of all our operations. We must also implement circular economy and eco-design measures related to the reuse or recycling of waste materials generated in all our production processes.
The use of sustainable materials and transformation processes not only requires the incorporation of knowledge in the field of chemistry and physics of materials or process engineering but also the development of new validation standards that favor the entry into the automotive industry of this type of solutions in the vehicle without detriment to functional performance, safety or perceived quality.
From a social point of view, we believe that the transformation leading to the mobility of the future must be carried out in terms of people. Facing some of the sector's challenges, such as business digitalization, automation, and robotization of production, makes it necessary to respond strategically with measures that guarantee a fair transition between progress, profitability, and employment.
With the innovation work to be developed in the coming years at Antolin, we intend to contribute from within to the development of smarter, safer, more comfortable, and environmentally friendly cars, being aware that, in the short term, we compete in many cases for talent and technological resources with other more profitable industrial sectors.
For this reason, in the area of innovation, we want to promote collaboration throughout the entire value chain, by attacking the development of projects of the highest technical ambition and in which vehicle manufacturers, component and technology suppliers, technology centers, universities, companies responsible for infrastructures, ICT, data providers, operators, and institutions are directly involved.
Finally, to boost the competitiveness of automotive manufacturers and suppliers in the current context of economic uncertainty, a policy to support the national industry efficiently and coordinately is required. Without it, and without a firm commitment of the entire value chain to innovation and R&D, it will be hard to tackle the technological and industrial transformation process that the sector faces if we want to continue to occupy leading positions worldwide.
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