Detroit — Watch out Apple, Plastic Omnium is getting into the facial recognition game too. Wanna open your tailgate? Just give it a look.
The interactive tailgate was one of several smart exterior parts on display at the company's booth at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Company officials touted smart exterior parts made of plastics as the future of automotive parts and discussed its aggressive bid to enter the hydrogen fuel cell market.
Co-CEO Jean-Michel Szczerba said he expects many exterior parts to be made of plastics in the future, including doors, roofs and hoods. Say goodbye to steel and aluminum, and hello to advanced composites.
The company displayed an intelligent bumper: a complete system with lidar and radar built in, active air-flow management, a crash box made with high-performance composites, and protections for the expensive sensors and radars.
The rear tailgate uses LED lighting as a design feature and even displays messages for other drivers or pedestrians.
Conductive coatings and paints could allow for touch open as well.
"We want to utilize plastic as much as possible," said Marc Cornet, president and CEO of the Americas, Auto Exterior division. "Radar sensors can't transmit through steel or aluminum. But it can through plastics."
That means while some of those sensors are exposed today, in the future they could be behind exterior pieces and protected in a fender bender.
Anyone with a backup camera can attest that they need to be cleaned every so often, especially in areas with snow.
"That camera needs to be behind a fence. And that fence will be plastic," Cornet said.