Rainstorms, sleet and snow—again and again, there are situations when you just want to quickly put something in your trunk or get into your car. For everyone looking for a more convenient solution in these moments, Huf Hülsbeck & Fürst GmbH & Co. KG has the answer: The automotive supply company located in Germany's Niederberg region has developed tailgate emblem closures and electronic door handles that react to "conductor's gestures," unlocking or opening doors and tailgates as if by magic.
A special piece of gesture-recognition technology is what makes it possible. In order to be outfitted with this intelligent product, the vehicle must be equipped with a passive entry system, which Huf has been supplying to commercial car manufacturers for more than 15 years. As soon as the vehicle recognizes the correct key, the trunk or doors can be unlocked or opened with a pre-defined hand motion (a gesture) over the door handle or tailgate emblem—without touching them or actively using the key. It's all thanks to special sensors built into the door handles, which recognize these gestures and compare them with the stored opening-command gesture. "The sensors are so sophisticated that they only react to gestures. As we were developing a kick sensor that can be used to open the trunk, we figured out how our products could be controlled with certain movements. Now we're going one step further to make opening the doors even more convenient," says Stefan Mönig, who leads the Advanced Technology Development department at Huf. The engineers at Huf make use of their extensive knowledge in the development of mechatronic products, which depend on the intelligent interplay of mechanics and electronics.