Kiekert Showcases Automatic Doors for Self-Driving Cars

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【Summary】Recently, supplier Kiekert revealed self-operating door technology to be used on autonomous vehicles.

Mia Bevacqua    Nov 11, 2017 10:15 AM PT
Kiekert Showcases Automatic Doors for Self-Driving Cars
author: Mia Bevacqua   

Manual door latches are so 2017. It's all about electronic door latches now – at least for supplier Kiekert. 

Say Farewell to the Door Latch

Kiekert first introduced the concept of an electronic, E-latch system back in 1995. Now the company is working toward a production electronic side door latch. The latch will be a stepping stone to doors that open and close on their own, says Keikert's director of development, Hector Verde.

"Our endgame is about providing a system in which the side doors automatically open when an autonomously-driven car arrives for passengers." 

As Verde points out, this system would be very useful in autonomous cars, especially those used for taxis. 

Taking Automatic Doors to the Next Level

Kiekert recemtly announced its NuEntry latch that eliminates the need for exterior door handles. According to SAE, the design employs two actuator chains and a pawl that lift via an electric motor.

The latch is usually locked. It releases electronically if an emblem on the side of the door is touched. It also opens if vehicle battery power is lost, such as in the event of an accident. Since the latch defaults to the unlocked position, there is no need for additional electronics, such as a power storage unit. 

In order for NuEntry to work automatically, it will be paired with two other Kiekert products: i-move and i-protect. I-move is an electronic actuator system and i-protect is a system that controls door movement. 

According to Verde, this trio of advanced technologies allows the side door to open and close on its own. It also prevents the door from opening if there's something in front of it, such as a person or post. This will help reduce costly door dings – especially if you've got kids who open doors carelessly.

Although the system is not ready for production, Keikert plans to install it on demonstration vehicles in 2018.  The company plans to have the product ready for consumers between 2020-2021. Who knows, the strenuous task of opening and closing your own doors may soon be a thing of the past. 

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