Automotive locking specialist Kiekert says it is working on an ‘autonomous door’ for vehicles. It says the Kiekert NuEntry electric door latch, along with Kiekert’s i-protect and i-move, will intelligently control access into vehicles, prevent unnecessary dents and scratches on vehicle doors, and help them to completely prevent injuries to pedestrians and other vehicles.

In its 160-year history, Kiekert has developed and produced well over 1.9bn latches for the international automotive industry and managed to provide innovative safety, comfort and efficiency solutions: starting with the mechanical latch up to the modern electric access NuEntry-Latch, and from micro actuators for locking and unlocking functions to the electrical comfort actuator for side doors – i-move. The automotive supplier’s latest product solutions also include the electromagnetic brake system i-protect with dynamic environment recognition. Kiekert currently is combining these three technologies into the autonomous door, which raises access to the vehicle to a new level.

With Kiekert’s vision of the autonomous door, entering a car becomes much more convenient: the NuEntry electric door latch allows automatic opening of the vehicle door using a fingertip or even digital devices (e.g. smartphones). An important step towards the self-opening door is Kiekert’s i-move, which allows automatic opening and completes the closing process. The opening process of the door is completed with the Kiekert i-protect, a modernised sensor system for dynamic field recognition coupled with an innovative door brake system.

Kiekert’s NuEntry-Latch
Kiekert’s NuEntry-Latch eliminates the need for door handles, reducing the weight and complexity of locking systems, while improving door design. Kiekert’s NuEntry-Latch allows use of the latest technologies, such as outdoor touch sensors or smartphones. Kiekert’s NuEntry-Latch has a modular full mechanical redundancy (TCR), which allows the latch to retain complete functionality, even in the event of a power failure.

Kiekert i-protect
The latest Kiekert i-protect prototype utilises a modernised sensor system for environmental identification and an innovative door brake system to detect dynamic obstacles in the vicinity of the door. An innovative door brake system electromechanically stops the car door in front of the obstacle, if required, with an accuracy of one centimetre. Troubles when getting in and out of the car due to narrow parking spaces, garages, parsers or inattentive traffic, as well as costly scratches and dents, will be a thing of the past.

Kiekert i-move
Kiekert’s i-move “intelligent movement” system provides a comfortable, automatically driven opening and closing action for the car door, similar to automated opening and closing of rear hatches. Pressing a button in the vehicle starts the process of door movement, opening up a new dimension of comfort for all ages.

Kiekert maintains a development and manufacturing centre in Wixom, Michigan, that serves as the company’s lead engineering and program management centre for the NAFTA region. Together with a sister plant in Mexico, the Wixom location is responsible for more than US$250m in annual revenue. Recent improvements have nearly tripled production at the Wixom plant from 350,000 door-latch modules in 2013 to more than one million units last year.