German latch supplier Kiekert plans a role for itself in the autonomous vehicle era with a suite of components to control vehicle access, prevent dings and open and close vehicle doors automatically.
To eliminate the need for door handles, the automotive locking systems specialist's electric release latch, NuEntry, uses exterior touch sensors that enable users to open a door with a fingertip or smartphone. The technology promises to cut weight by doing away with traditional locking systems, Mike Hietbrink, general manager of Kiekert USA, told Automotive News.
"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.