"You don't need a lot of the systems that they have today in the car," Hietbrink said. "For things like outside handles and attachments, cables, rods, sometimes reinforcements to protect the latch in the system — you don't need any of that anymore."
The NuEntry latch also has temporary crash redundancy. "This allows the latch to switch into a mechanical mode in a crash so that an emergency cable or other releases could open the door," said Hector Verde, Kiekert's director of product development of the Americas.
Kiekert's i-Protect prototype is a sensor system that can identify and detect obstacles near the door, and prompts the door to stop 1 centimeter from an object using an electromechanical brake. This prevents scratches and dents and allows users to enter vehicles with ease in garages and tight parking spaces.
A challenge of developing the sensors was determining what height to set the sensors to detect obstacles, Verde said.
"If an object is shorter than the bottom of the door, then you don't want the sensor to detect it," said Verde. "On the other side, obstacles such as branches from trees that could be higher could contact the door."