BMW has filed a patent with the WIPO for a hood can change from being flat to having an indent or a bump.
Translated from German:
 The invention relates to a system for selectively changing the shape of a structure of a vehicle.
 In the automobile sector, new ways are increasingly being concluded to improve the vehicle by means of novel surface structures. Surface structures located on the outer skin can, for example, achieve an improvement in the aerodynamics of the vehicle as a function of the speed travelled. The extendable spoiler which has already been used for years is an example.Newer developments relate to the entire outer skin of the vehicle in the concept and use, for example, structures which can be changed in their shape.
 It is an object of this invention to provide an improved system for selectively changing the shape of a structure of a vehicle. This object is achieved according to the invention by the features of the independent patent claims. Advantageous embodiments are the subject matter of the dependent claims.
 The invention proposes a system for selectively changing the shape of a structure of a vehicle, wherein dimensionally stable regions and deformable regions for forming the structure are arranged in a predetermined sequence and alternately to one another and to one another, and wherein at least one actuator is provided, which is arranged on at least one of the dimensionally stable regions or on at least one of the deformable regions in such a way that it moves the latter by actuation in a predefined direction.
 By means of the proposed system, a region which can be selectively changed in its shape is proposed on the vehicle, which region can assume a predetermined shape on the basis of a corresponding actuation. Without actuation, the region remains in its rest state. The actuation can take place in different directions, that is to say not only orthogonally to the region to be moved, but also at an angle thereto.As a result of the fastening of the regions to one another, a movement of one region acts on an adjacent other region, so that the latter is likewise moved. As a result, a plurality of regions can be moved by actuating a region and thereby form a desired structure.
 By alternating rows of dimensionally stable and deformable regions, different structures can be implemented on or in the vehicle by actuation by means of the actuator. For example, components provided on the outside or inside in the vehicle can be covered in the rest state and can only be used or used in the actuated state. This can be useful, for example, in a windshield wiper.As long as it is not required, the structure remains in the closed state and can thus seal off seamlessly, for example, towards the front window. If the windshield wiper is to be used, the structure is activated or opened and releases the windshield wiper.
 Furthermore, the deformable regions are formed from a shape memory alloy in such a way that they return to their initial position without actuation by the actuator or actuators. Thus, no energy or force has to be applied in order to remain in the initial position or return thereto.
 Furthermore, it is provided that the deformable regions consist of a plurality of contiguous partial regions which can be deformed independently of one another. By using a deformable region which can be divided into smaller shaped parts, a fine defined structure can be formed. The subdivision can be designed as a subdivision, in which the deformable region is divided into a plurality of subregions.However, different materials can also be provided in a deformable partial region which, for example, have a different stability and are thereby deformed differently during actuation.
 Furthermore, provision is made for the actuation by the actuator or actuators to take place mechanically or magnetically or electrically or electromechanically. For example, electromechanical servomotors such as linear motors can be used to move the regions in a predetermined direction.
 Furthermore, provision is made for a deformable outer skin element to be provided on a visible side of the structure, which outer skin element forms a predefined structure by moving the dimensionally stable and the deformable regions. In addition, the regions can also be spanned by a deformable or flexible outer skin element, resulting in an optically quasi-freedom of joint. The visible side of the structure is the side which is visible to an observer of the vehicle.The outer skin element is advantageously arranged on at least two dimensionally stable regions adjacent thereto and is used as a deformable region. The outer skin element can itself serve as a deformable region. For this purpose, it is then fastened, for example, to an upper side of adjacent dimensionally stable regions and not, as otherwise provided, such that the upper sides of the deformable and dimensionally stable regions form a flat surface.
 Furthermore, the dimensionally stable and/or the deformable regions are painted or coated. A uniform optical system can thus be achieved.
 Furthermore, the structure is an outer region of the vehicle, comprising an air inlet or air outlet in a kidney of the vehicle, a region of an engine hood of the vehicle, a cover of windscreen wipers or a representation of an active aerodynamics on a region of the vehicle. Furthermore, the structure is an interior region of the vehicle, comprising an air inlet or air outlet.The proposed possibility for the selective change in shape of a structure of a vehicle can be used both on the outer skin of the vehicle and in the inner region of the vehicle, since the size of the region which can be varied in its shape can be adapted to virtually any habitat, for example by selecting the size and/or number of regions. A wide variety of functions can be achieved by means of the selective change in shape.The functions can range from an increase in comfort to an increase in safety, for example by providing a rear spoiler or the release of windscreen wipers.
 The invention further relates to a vehicle comprising the described system.
 Further features and advantages of the invention emerge from the following description of exemplary embodiments of the invention, with reference to the figures of the drawing, which shows details according to the invention, and from the claims. The individual features can be implemented individually or in any combination in a variant of the invention.
 Preferred embodiments of the invention are explained in more detail below with reference to the attached drawing.
FIGS. 1a to 9c show schematic illustrations of different embodiments of the system according to the present invention.
FIGS. 10a to 13 c show schematic representations of the operating principle of different embodiments of the present invention.
 In den nachfolgenden Figurenbeschreibungen sind gleiche Elemente bzw. Funktionen mit gleichen Bezugszeichen versehen.
 The aim of the invention is to provide an increased freedom of design for providing different functionalities on and in the vehicle 1. In the examples, a hood 110 is shown, since the principle can be most simply and plaked. As already mentioned, however, other areas of the vehicle 1 can also have the described system for selectively changing the shape of a structure of the vehicle 1.
 FIGS. 1a to 9c show different examples of regions which are connected to one another and which are intended to form a structure. FIGS. 1a, 3a, 5a and 8a show a vehicle 1 with a structure provided in its engine hood 110 in the closed state 111. In all these figures, in each case alternately arranged dimensionally stable regions 10 and deformable regions 11 are provided in the rest state 111, which regions are designed as an enlargement in FIG. 1b, FIG. 3 b, Fig. 5b, Fig. 8b and Fig. 8c. As a rule, the regions 10, 11 all have the same thickness and are formed in such a way that a flat surface is produced in the closed state 111. A different embodiment is shown only in FIG. 8c and FIG. 9c. Here, the deformable regions 11 are shown merely as thin lines.This is expedient in this embodiment, since here a deformable outer skin 12 is attached to the visible side, which covers the unevenness between the regions 10 and 11. By means of the very thin deformable regions 11, less force is required by the actuator 20 in order to generate the structure.
 FIGS. 2a, 4a, 6a, 7a and 9a show the above-described embodiments in each case in the open state 112. All figures here are identical in that an actuator 20 acts on a dimensionally stable region 10 and thereby moves the latter in a predetermined direction. In FIG. 2 In this case, the two deformable regions fastened to the dimensionally stable region 10 and adjacent thereto are likewise moved, specifically in a similar manner, so that an elevation is produced in the engine hood 110, as illustrated in FIG. 2a. In FIG. 4b, the two adjacent deformable regions are formed from a plurality of partial regions and are likewise moved by moving the dimensionally stable region 10.As a result, an elevation with a plurality of further bulges or air slots is produced when the partial regions are correspondingly formed, in the engine hood 110, as illustrated in FIG. 4a. It is common to the embodiments that the next dimensionally stable regions are not affected by the movement.
 In FIGS. 6b and 7b, not only are the two adjacent deformable regions likewise moved, but also further, both dimensionally stable and deformable regions 10, 11. In this case, a type of stairway pattern is produced as an elevation, as shown in FIG. 6a, or as an indentation, as shown in FIG. 7a. This structure can arise in that a greater force is exerted by the actuator and therefore the adjacent regions are likewise raised. FIG. 9 A -9 c essentially have the same design as FIGS. 5a/5b and 6a/6b, a deformable outer skin 12 being provided here on the visible side of the structure, which outer skin permits virtually joint-free optics.
 FIGS. 10 to 13 show the operating principle of the deformable and dimensionally stable regions 10 and 11 which are arranged alternately with respect to one another.
 A closed state 111 is shown in FIG. 10a, and an open state 112 is shown in FIG. 10b. The embodiment shown here is an embodiment in which a deformable outer skin 12 is provided and is fastened to the upper sides or visible sides of adjacent dimensionally stable regions 10. The actuation takes place here by an actuator 20 which acts on a deformable region 11 serving as a support structure for the outer skin 12.In this case, the latter is in turn formed as a deformable region 11 consisting of a plurality of partial regions which are connected to one another in an articulated manner. A similar embodiment is shown in FIGS. 12a to 12c, wherein here the support structure is formed from sub-regions which are connected to one another in a less movable manner.
 An alternative embodiment is shown in FIGS. 11 to 11. FIG. 11a shows a closed state 111, and FIGS. 11b and 11c show an actuation in different directions. In this case, the dimensionally stable region 10 is again moved by the actuator 20, and a plurality of adjacent regions 10, 11 which are both deformable and dimensionally stable are likewise moved.Owing to the fact that the regions are connected to one another, a predefined movement takes place which is dependent on the strength and the direction of the actuation.
 The embodiment shown in FIGS. 13a to 13c is an embodiment in which the deformable outer skin 12 serves as a deformable region 11 and is fastened to the upper sides or visible sides of adjacent dimensionally stable regions 10. Here, the actuation takes place by an actuator 20 which acts directly on the outer skin as a deformable region 11. There is therefore no supporting structure.
 The deformable outer skin 12 is advantageously a textile outer skin or a material which can be deformed according to the desired structure.
 Advantageously, only one actuator 20 is used to generate a predefined structure in a predefined environment of the actuator 20. However, it is also possible to use a plurality of actuators 20, even at mutually adjacent regions 10 and 11, if this is necessary to form the structure. The actuator 20 can be connected to a control device provided in the vehicle 1 and receive control signals therefrom.
 The outer skin 12 is advantageously connected to the dimensionally stable regions 10 by means of an adhesive or form connection which should be as invisible as possible towards the visible side.