Powered iPad table for safe and stylish passenger in-car connectivity


Keeping up to date with emails, monitoring the stock market or taking some time out to watch a movie is a challenge whilst travelling as a passenger in even the most luxurious motorcar. The ‘occasional’ pothole or bump can cause your tablet or laptop to bounce and could result in the wrong key being pressed or even the device becoming dislodged from the surface it’s resting on. The latter potentially presenting a safety hazard to the occupants and other vehicles if the driver is distracted - or worse! A safe and elegant solution was required for ease of communicating with the outside world, while maintaining the luxurious appeal of one of the finest passenger car interiors. To this end, our client, Bentley Motors Ltd, requested that May & Scofield provide the electronic control units (ECU's) to safely power and control the electric motors for an integrated iPad table incorporating two complex mechatronic systems.  

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In collaboration with Bentley Motors Ltd, we helped to develop the functionality and specification which would offer the best customer interface. Many features are not immediately obvious, for example the user’s preference of screen up or down is dependent on the table position when it was closed.

There were some technical challenges with this development, including the requirement to protect against the possibility of a hand being trapped by the mechanism, since the table contains automatic motorised movements. Through rigorous testing, with temperature profiles and force measurements, we have arrived at a solution which exerts lower forces on a hand or finger than the requirement for powered windows. The custom ‘anti-trap’ algorithms utilising speed and current measurements to achieve this level of control were developed by our engineering team.caripad


The end product is a stylish and practical, electrically powered table and screen, fitted to the rear of the front seats. Each is individually controlled by a May & Scofield ECU that meets automotive standards and all VW80000 specifications. The table is deployed and stowed through a motorised mechanism, which is operated by a button located on the back of its corresponding front seat. The table top opens, via a second powered mechanism, to reveal a removable iPad tablet, a Bluetooth keyboard and is activated via a button on the side of the table. A torsion hinge allows manual fine-tuning of the screen position. The screen can be power closed to cover the keyboard, allowing the protected back of the casing to be used as a table. When the vehicle ignition is on, the iPad can be charged at the fast charge rate dictated by Apple’s specifications, via the power connector integrated into the iPad pouch.

This is an example of how May & Scofield's capabilities to design and manufacture complex, electrically powered mechanical systems, could be utilized by other customers in a different application or industry.

Click on the video link to see an example of May & Scofield ECU’s controlling the Bentley Mulsanne powered iPad tables.

The full length video can be seen on the Automotive 'About' section.

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May & Scofield Limited

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RG24 8UG, UK

Tel: 01256 306800
Email: info@may-scofield.co.uk
Sales: sales@may-scofield.co.uk

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