Think cockpit, and images of multi-screen displays in front of aircraft pilots come to mind. However, very soon, multi-display cockpit systems will be commonly found in vehicles. Accustomed to consuming data and entertainment on multiple screens at home and on the move, consumers will demand the same from their cars. Infotainment in cars will be as important as how the car looks. According to a report by U.S.-based IHS Automotive, over the next five years, touchscreens, along with speech recognition and gesture controls will be the big vehicle infotainment trends.

In the automotive cockpits of the future, large, flat monitors, which mimic instrument displays, will replace dashboards of today. All the information you will need, from navigation to weather information, to speed and distance to destination, will be available on multiple-screens in front of you. With data and graphics not just restricted to small screens but also projected on multiple display units, including the windshield, the multi-display cockpits will offer safety and convenience to the drivers, to assist them in every decision. The displays will provide features to monitor vehicle diagnostics, media streaming, and real-time information from the internet. They will also allow drivers to control driving related functions without much distraction. The cockpits will not only provide information about what’s around the vehicle, but will also likely warn drivers about what lies ahead, miles ahead.

The next-gen infotainment systems will focus on developing intuitive, customizable cockpits, which will allow drivers and passengers to modify displays and content to suit their preferences. With integration of steering wheel controls as well as voice commands, the in-vehicle infotainment systems of the future will offer a superior driving experience, resulting in safer on-road behaviour.

One of the leading automotive manufacturers recently released the 2017 version of its highly successful and popular supercar with a high-end, multiple display cockpit. It features an all-digital, ‘Virtual Cockpit’, a 312-millimetre TFT driver-display that combines the functions of a central monitor and conventional instrument cluster in a singular display. The driver can configure the cockpit to get either a “classic” view, which displays circular instrument dials like the speedometer and tachometer or the “infotainment mode” which displays navigation info and media from the smartphone.

The multi-display systems will be a combination of digital displays, Bluetooth, IoT, voice and gesture control, integrated with smartphones. They will blend an array of network technologies and processing power, along with visual imagery to facilitate seamless infotainment. The systems will also allow multiple OS platforms to function on flexible hardware architecture reducing integration complexities.

As carmakers jostle to increase their market share by catering to the demands of the discerning customer, innovation in infotainment systems will be key. They will need to invest in developing reliable, highly customizable and scalable solutions to stay ahead, in their pursuit of the next-gen infotainment solutions.

Written by Sherry C Kunjachan

on 14 Nov 2017

Sherry C Kunjachan is the Strategic Initiatives Leader for Automotive Engineering Services at Quest Global, which is a focused global engineering solutions provider and production engineering partner serving the product development & production engineering needs of high technology companies in the Aero Engines, Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Oil & Gas, Power, Medical Devices, Industrial and other high tech industries.