Continental’s cockpit vision

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

To address the need for better in-car display of both road information and entertainment in future autonomous and connected vehicles, Continental has showcased its vision of the cockpit of the future at the IAA Cars 2017 International Motor Show, Germany.

“Numerous innovations in vehicle interiors await us on the path to the automated and fully interconnected future of mobility,” explained Dr Frank Rabe, head of Continental's Instrumentation & Driver HMI business unit. “Interfaces that can change and seamlessly take on new forms; digital mirrors and large-scale augmentation of the vehicle environment will all be available to drivers in the future. In our Cockpit Vision 2025, we are presenting designs that will revolutionise vehicle interiors before very long.”

In Continental’s mixed-reality demonstrator an augmented reality headset is used to reveal the controls and entertainment elements over a clay model shaped like a car interior that has no physical instruments.

“As soon as users are immersed in our vision, they will find out that the cockpit of the future will adapt smoothly and dynamically to the specific driving situation,” said Dr Rabe. During automated driving, for example, certain controls and displays will remain hidden, becoming visible and accessible when requested.

The Cockpit Vision also includes an array of functions for comprehensive human-machine interaction that can dynamically and flexibly adapt the vehicle interior to the specific situation. For example, the mixed-reality demonstrator will show a retractable steering wheel, and mirror displays that replace the traditional exterior mirrors and which extend only when required, as well as expanded functions on its screens and augmented-reality head-up displays.

Continental says it has already developed the necessary hardware which controls all the vehicle's input and output devices and mobile devices with a single electronic control unit. The Integrated Interior Platform is an important step toward a comprehensive human-machine interface and links the vehicle cockpit which acts as a central computer, with the driver and his or her mobile devices, other road users, infrastructure and the cloud.

The vehicle is therefore a digital companion, and is completely interconnected at all times. The IIP thereby manages to operate functions relevant to safety, such as instrumentation, as well as functions from the cloud or infotainment, securely and stably using a single piece of hardware.

By merging hitherto separate domains, Continental is not just laying the groundwork for a fully updatable interior, the driver can use functions flexibly across all applications, even if they were previously restricted to the instrument cluster or the displays on the centre console. Information that can be positioned anywhere, and the option to move content dynamically, mean that there is now nothing standing in the way of personalised cockpits.

Dr Rabe concludes: “We are going to be showcasing the promising visions with our Cockpit Vision 2025 study and will now be gradually putting them into practice for real.”

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