AutoSeat León: the car that tunes the future

Seat León: the car that tunes the future

All of us remember those long antennas on the roof or hood of old cars. Many of them were retractable, metal, and scratched when entering some covered garages. Its function was limited to the radio and the quality was improving with the passage of time, as well as its design. Today’s antennas, converted into small fins, could go unnoticed, despite being more important than ever. The new Seat León has 16 devices that directly affect safety, connectivity and passenger comfort . We are facing the most technological generation of the Spanish compact, with an arsenal of safety and driving assistance systems that make it the safest. These ADAS information is collected thanks to a camera, ultrasonic sensors and a radar . They are what we would call the ‘previous step to autonomous driving’, a type of circulation in which the antennas will play a leading role.

Mareike Gross, head of Seat’s Electrical Systems, Package and Cybersecurity, comments that: “The antennas are the vehicle’s occupants’ communication channel with the outside world.” The resulting electromagnetic waves emit and receive constant information. A stream that is not only related to AM, FM and DAB digital radio stations , they also take care of fundamental details. For example, 4G telephony services are vital to offer connectivity or to be able to activate the emergency call . The emergence of technology gives more prominence to these antennas, responsible for exchanging data with impeccable precision and at very high speed.

Radio is only part

The elongated metallic structures of the past were in charge of transmitting the radio waves to us. In case of being retractable, leaving it lowered meant running out of hardly any coverage and poor reception quality. No one has to think about these details anymore if you drive a modern car, rather you will have to find where the antenna is located. In the Seat León there are 16, many of them very hidden. Its functions range from the reception of AM, FM and DAG digital radio waves to the remote control of the heating . These devices have a significant impact on passenger comfort, and no one wants to drive or travel with radio interference or poor mobile coverage . These technological complements take care of all that, and more.

To improve and ensure the quality of the radio, Seat has designed the diversity system . The car is an element in constant movement so promising an excellent connection is almost impossible, unless you use more than one device for the same function. This strategy gives the ” same tasks to several antennas , in order to be able to select the one that offers the best signal,” says César Marco, head of Seat’s Antenna department.

Well hidden

Current models usually use more than 10 antennas to offer connectivity, emergency call, navigation or radio services, among others. Your placement is very important for scope and quality. This location is the highest part, away from possible interference from other vehicles or roadside metals. The shark fin is one of the elements shared by several manufacturers, the replacement for the traditional metal rod. This shark fin integrates, in the case of the Lion, the functions: GPS, 4G telephony, WiFi and remote heating control . Another five of the connectors are responsible for broadcasting, three of them for 4G telephony, two for WiFi and Bluetooth functions and five of them are focused on managing access to the vehicle.

The rest of the antennas are located on non-metallic elements such as the lines of the heated rear window, the bumper or the door handles. Elements that are key to communication between the car and the environment but which will be even more so in the future. Autonomous driving , managed through 5G technology , will involve an exchange of information with the cloud in a matter of milliseconds. “The antennas should ensure 120% of the connection with the outside,” Marco concludes. This expert foresees the introduction of 10 more antennas, necessary for virtual reality, 4K video streaming or online games.

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