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Ford Developing 3D-Knitted Car Seat Covers

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3D-knitted car seat covers
Photo: Ford Motor Company

As part of its continued efforts to explore the usefulness of 3D printing in vehicle manufacturing, Ford is exploring the possibility of offering fully customizable 3D-knitted car seat covers. Leveraging a form of 3D printing used in the production of clothing and furniture, Ford would give customers the ability to craft car seats that address their every need — up to and including wireless charging and Wi-Fi connectivity capabilities.

“We love to personalize our possessions, and as part of our Human-Centric Design process we are exploring how to achieve this through seat covers that could also offer intuitive functionality,” said Anais Castinel, interior designer, Ford of Europe. “3D knitting offers intriguing possibilities that push the boundaries of design and make journeys more comfortable and convenient for the driver and passengers.”

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This development follows in the treads of the new Puma, which is the first Ford vehicle to offer fully removable seat covers. Not only do removable seat covers make it easier to keep the interior clean, but it enables drives to upgrade to different materials and swap them out when seasonally appropriate.

With 3D-knitted seats, customization goes beyond even the type of fabric. Seats can be manufactured to feature in-built heating, integrated controls for the doors and windows, and even biometric monitors. There will also be the option to add logos, graphics, pockets, and padding. What’s more, the process creates less waste, can use recycled materials, and cuts down on imperfections and wrinkles.

Ford has worked to incorporated 3D printing in its manufacturing processes for several years, and it recently developed 3D-printed brake parts for its upcoming Shelby Mustang GT500.

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Photos: Ford Creating 3D-Knitted Car Seat Covers