With the approaching spring, the time of cold temperatures during flight missions is probably over for the time being. But next autumn is sure to come. If it is up to Dr. Viktor Bader’s leaves, then the winter season 2021/2022 can probably not come quickly enough. The product developer from Volkswagen Group Innovation is working on the development of intelligent clothing that compensates for temperature fluctuations before the wearer actually notices them. What advantages can smart clothing offer pilots in outdoor use?
With heated clothing, you can withstand colder ambient conditions for much longer, or make this time more comfortable and healthier – especially if you don’t move much. That’s why heated clothing for hunters, for example, is already on the market. The special thing about the smart heating technology I have developed is that the heating output is automatically increased or decreased even before you even feel that it is too warm or too cold. It is like this: If, for example, we notice on a vehicle seat that the set heating level for the seat heating is too high, we turn the heating level down at this point in time. However, this point in time is usually too late: It is already too warm and the body often reacts with sweating. Sweating that has begun can become problematic in cold ambient conditions, as people with a moist skin surface could quickly cool down again and become ill. Our intelligent heating technology, on the other hand, regulates the output predictively, and cooling down or sweating can often be avoided. This not only improves thermal comfort but also creates added value for health.
You can hardly feel anything from the sensors and the heating or light elements. The weight of the batteries can be individually adapted to the needs depending on the energy storage required. We have even developed technologies in which the batteries of smart clothing are charged “on the side”, for example when sitting on a vehicle seat, when riding a bike or after hanging a jacket on a special hook. You may not even need a battery in the garment.
However, if you want to use the clothing in such a way that it is supplied with energy from the battery of an electric car or an e-bike, there must of course be interfaces to the vehicles. In the future, however, there should also be corresponding retrofit solutions for all vehicles.