BARCELONA – Fiat Research Center has developed a car that helps its driver find the optimal sitting position.
An innovative feature in the Sportiva Latina concept makes the car safer because the technology helps the driver find the best position to see the road ahead.
The concept is also a step forward in comfort because it adjusts to the size of the driver, finding the most ergonomically correct seating position.
The Sportiva Latina won the annual award given at the auto show here for having the most innovative concepts for the car of the future.
Drivers put themselves into the correct sitting position by looking into a viewfinder mounted on the center of the instrument panel. The viewfinder emits a red LED light.
When the driver can see the red light, he or she has found the right spot.
After the seat is in the proper position, the car automatically adjusts the locations of the steering wheel and the pedals. The adjustments create the optimal driving posture for more than 90 percent of population.
Because of by-wire technology, the steering wheel and the pedals are not attached to mechanical systems so they have a greater range of movement.
The Sportiva Latina also features a split-frame architecture that is similar to the body-on-frame construction of trucks.
The concepts lower frame is separated from the upper body by rubber mounts. That means the vehicles frame – rather than the drivers body – absorbs bumps and vibrations from the road and engine.
Separating the body from the frame also gives carmakers the chance to create a greater number of variants and even radical restylings, thus increasing economies of scale.
Another advantage of a separate frame is that it allows greater flexibility in terms of the powertrain. A small modification to the frame is all that is needed to change a car from front-wheel to four-wheel drive. The entire floorpan would have to be changed to do this on a traditional unibody construction.
The Sportiva Latina was recognized for having the best technological innovations in the automotive industry by the organizers of the Barcelona show and the Spanish Society of Automobile Engineers.