Trends such as electric mobility and the increasing digitalization of numerous vehicle components also entail new challenges for the kick sensor. Autonomous driving is one example. The host of sensors that are needed for locating the vehicle and communicating for the purpose of offering connected mobility can affect the reliability of the kick sensor. “This is not the only reason why we fundamentally revised the kick sensor,” explains Steffen Leib, product manager responsible for the kick sensor at Huf. “Thanks to a new control unit and even better sensor cables, our latest product even works reliably under strong electromagnetic influence. For example, the kick sensor 3.0 exceeds the manufacturer specifications for electromagnetic compatibility by a factor of two. Furthermore, it improves service in the workshop: thanks to the integrated LIN bootloader, software updates can now be conveniently installed via the vehicle diagnostic connector. And another pleasing aspect for the vehicle manufacturers is that thanks to its reliable kick detection, the kick sensor works in 95 percent of all current vehicle models with no need for individual parameter adjustment,” Leib continues.
The developers at Huf have improved the kick sensor in many other regards. If the previous version is already impressive with its low power consumption, it has been reduced by half again in the latest kick sensor. The kick sensor has made weight savings, too, and now weighs 20 percent less. It also shows greater restraint in terms of installation space: the electronic control unit is far more compact and, with an installation height that has been reduced by a third, it not only fits in the rear bumper of any vehicle, but can even be installed in side skirts. This way, power sliding side doors can also be opened with a simple kick. The various sensor cables with individually adjustable holders contribute to this high degree of scalability, too.
The housing of the electronic control unit is not only more compact, it has also been significantly reinforced, as has the casing of the sensor cables. As a result, the kick sensor will be even better protected against dust, dirt, and weather effects in future. Compared with the previous model, temperature stability is now 20 percent higher. This makes the new kick sensor more robust and also allows it to work with even greater reliability, also in extreme conditions.
Huf has been setting standards for a decade with the kick sensor
With the latest generation of the kick sensor, Huf is continuing a success story that began a decade ago. In 2011, Huf introduced the kick sensor at Volkswagen and Audi. While this convenience feature was invariably available to drivers of top-of-the-range vehicles initially, owners of mid-range and even compact cars now also benefit from the kick sensor. Huf now achieves a worldwide market share of over 40 percent with the kick sensor and supplies customers all over the world. The kick sensor enhances numerous models of the Volkswagen Group, from the VW Passat and Tiguan, to the Skoda Kodiaq and Audi A4 and Q5, all the way to the Porsche Panamera. Other automotive groups like Toyota, PSA and GM also rely on the Huf kick sensor with their global vehicle platforms.
In China, the kick sensor is used in vehicle models from BYD and Dongfeng, for example. The BYD subsidiary Denza, which exclusively offers electric vehicles, has put its trust in the Huf kick sensor since 2018. In 2020, sister brand ARCFOX followed suit and presented its first purely electric vehicle in the shape of the α-T. Upon request, the tailgate of this premium SUV can be opened, closed and even stopped using the kick sensor from Huf.