Vi­sion of cock­pits for fu­ture driv­ing

TECHNOLOGY/ Con­ti­nen­tal re­vealed its in­te­rior of the fu­ture at the re­cent Frank­furt Motor Show

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Motor News Re­porter

Dig­i­tal mo­bil­ity strate­gies, a ris­ing tide of in­for­ma­tion and the in­creas­ingly in­ter­con­nected and mo­bile lives of driv­ers — these all lead to new re­quire­ments for the way in­for­ma­tion is con­veyed in­side ve­hi­cles.

It is an area in which con­ven­tional dis­play and op­er­at­ing sys­tems are rapidly reach­ing their lim­its, says Con­ti­nen­tal.

New cock­pit de­signs are needed for au­to­mated driv­ing to suc­ceed if driv­ers wish to be re­laxed and en­ter­tained in their new en­vi­ron­ments.

With these re­quire­ments in mind, Con­ti­nen­tal used the re­cent Frank­furt Motor Show to show­case its vi­sion of the cock­pit of the fu­ture.

“Nu­mer­ous in­no­va­tions in vehicle in­te­ri­ors await us on the path to the au­to­mated and fully in­ter­con­nected fu­ture of mo­bil­ity. 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,” says Frank Rabe, head of Con­ti­nen­tal’s in­stru­men­ta­tion and driver HMI (hu­man ma­chine in­ter­ac­tion) busi­ness unit.

“In our Cock­pit Vi­sion 2025, we are pre­sent­ing de­signs that will rev­o­lu­tionise vehicle in­te­ri­ors be­fore very long,” he says.

Us­ing a mixed-re­al­ity model, an un­re­mark­able clay shape with­out any in­stru­ments trans­forms into the cock­pit of the fu­ture thanks to the use of an aug­mented-re­al­ity head­set. In ad­di­tion to the con­trols and en­ter­tain­ment el­e­ments that this re­veals, the vi­sion in­cludes brief, an­i­mated sce­nar­ios il­lus­trat­ing the in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions.

“As soon as users are im­mersed in our vi­sion, they find out that the cock­pit of the fu­ture will adapt smoothly and dy­nam­i­cally to the spe­cific driv­ing sit­u­a­tion,” ex­plains Rabe.


Dur­ing au­to­mated driv­ing, for ex­am­ple, cer­tain con­trols and dis­plays will re­main hid­den. They will only be­come vis­i­ble and ac­ces­si­ble when re­quested, thanks to the chang­ing, in­tel­li­gent in­ter­faces. “This cre­ates a com­pletely flex­i­ble, all-en­com­pass­ing cock­pit.”

The Cock­pit Vi­sion in­cludes a wide ar­ray of func­tions for com­pre­hen­sive hu­man-ma­chine in­ter­ac­tion that can adapt the in­te­rior to the spe­cific sit­u­a­tion. For ex­am­ple, in its mixed-re­al­ity de­mon­stra­tor, the com­pany shows a re­tractable steer­ing wheel, as well as ex­panded func­tions on its screens and aug­mented-re­al­ity head-up dis­plays. Mir­ror dis­plays re­place the tra­di­tional ex­te­rior mir­rors and ex­tend only when re­quired.

With smart con­trol, a spe­cial in­put de­vice is pro­vided for au­to­mated driv­ing that as­sists driv­ers in the tran­si­tion to the role of users. The de­vice pro­vides in­for­ma­tion as to whether the car will drive it­self or can be driven on the cur­rent stretch of road and is used to con­trol vehicle ma­noeu­vres.

Ad­di­tional high­lights in­clude mor­ph­ing in­ter­faces that can re­veal or hide dis­plays as re­quired, for ex­am­ple, or a wind­shield that can be used as a mon­i­tor to show in­for­ma­tion about cer­tain places in the area or to play films.

To make the vi­sion a re­al­ity, Con­ti­nen­tal says it has al­ready de­vel­oped the nec­es­sary hard­ware, which con­trols all the vehicle’s in­put and out­put de­vices, plus mo­bile de­vices with a sin­gle elec­tronic con­trol unit (ECU).

The In­te­grated In­te­rior Plat­form (IIP) 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 IIP op­er­ates safety-rel­e­vant func­tions such as in­stru­men­ta­tion, as well as cloud-based or in­fo­tain­ment func­tions, us­ing a sin­gle piece of hard­ware.

By merg­ing hith­erto sep­a­rate do­mains in the cock­pit of the fu­ture, Con­ti­nen­tal says it is not only lay­ing the ground­work for a fully up­dat­able in­te­rior, but the driver can use func­tions across all ap­pli­ca­tions, even if these were pre­vi­ously re­stricted to the in­stru­ment clus­ter or the dis­plays on the cen­tre con­sole. The op­tion to move con­tent means there is noth­ing stand­ing in the way of per­son­alised cock­pits, says the com­pany.


To de­velop Cock­pit Vi­sion 2025, Con­ti­nen­tal says it took an ap­proach of strate­gic fore­sight, look­ing at the de­vel­op­ment of trends and the fu­ture. This in­volved iden­ti­fy­ing seven automotive sce­nar­ios for the year 2030 that dif­fered in terms of at­ti­tudes to vehicle own­er­ship, en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness and price-con­scious­ness within a society, for ex­am­ple.

The next step was for the re­searchers to de­ter­mine which sce­nario was most ap­pli­ca­ble to each mar­ket and to hold work­shops in six coun­tries over three con­ti­nents to gen­er­ate the most di­verse vi­sions pos­si­ble for the var­i­ous sce­nar­ios.

Pan­els of ex­perts com­pared the con­tent ob­tained by these pro­cesses with cur­rent trends and fore­casts by vi­sion­ary in­sid­ers in the in­dus­try and added such con­tri­bu­tions as trend and technology analy­ses, coun­try pro­files and in­for­ma­tion on ap­pli­ca­ble leg­is­la­tion.

Above: Dig­i­tal screens are al­ready ap­pear­ing in ve­hi­cles, but there will be more of them in the fu­ture. Left: Au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles will be able to adapt their in­te­ri­ors on the move.

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