Loaded with electronic features, cars are fast becoming smartphones on wheels, and that makes the view from the driver’s seat more important than ever. The dashboard is a focal point of competition, and automakers are embracing displays, designs, and development platforms in search of the best fit for infotainment, comfort, safety, and performance systems, most of which require driver interaction.
Like smartphones for which myriad “apps” are available, automakers are allowing customers to personalize their vehicles. Visteon Corporation, for example, designed a configurable digital instrument cluster platform for Jaguar Land Rover’s Range Rover that features a 12.3-inch color display – one of the largest available in a vehicle – with a virtual speedometer, virtual gauges, and a message center. Drivers can customize the system warnings and vehicle information displayed in the message center as well as the audio and telephone displays. The message center provides information on steering angle, wheel articulation, suspension settings, and Terrain Response™ settings, and the instrument cluster can reconfigure itself dynamically as the vehicle shifts from one drive mode to another.
“Integrating larger and more complex color displays is cutting edge in driver information systems today,” says James Farrell, Visteon’s senior manager for driver information. “This allows automakers to bring the consumer electronics experience into their vehicles, which is a growing expectation of the driver.”