French automotive giant Renault has partnered with serial technology innovation-backer CEA to develop a new type of padding for automotive interiors. 

Honed over the last two years, this padding features a strategically organized mesh-like structure that allows it to be 3D-printed into lighter parts with adaptive properties. 

In practice, it’s thought that these could be configured to respond to individual pressure needs, and provide unique levels of cushioning that address drivers’ aches and pains on the move. 

“This innovation is the result of combining the R&D expertise of two major players in innovation,” Renault’s SVP of vehicle synthesis and upstream technology, Jean-Francois Salessy, said in a statement. “It could enable us to offer customers a truly differentiating driving experience. We are continuing to explore its full potential.” 

Additive manufacturing such components not only allows for a new level of customization, but makes them simpler to produce, while minimizing their carbon footprint and eliminating waste. 

In future, it’s thought that the process could be applied in the manufacture of Renault car seats, backrests, arm rests, and center consoles, with R&D into other applications ongoing. 

Though currently made from TPU, Renault and the CEA are also honing a way of using their technique to 3D print interiors from bio-materials, with even stronger green credentials. 
So who knows? Maybe the greenery that often makes driving so scenic could one day take on a different role – as part of your dashboard or keeping you comfortable on the ride home.

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