A digital projector and an infrared camera pairing could change how a driver interacts with vehicle controls.
Visteon engineers are working on a rear projection touch-capable Integrated Center Panel (ICP) that senses human touch differently from today's resistive or capacitive touch systems.
According to Michael Tschirhart, Technical Fellow and Visteon's Advanced HMI Design Manager, "capacitive technology can support multitouch functions but is a bit more expensive and generally doesn't work through gloves. Resistive technology is less expensive and can be used more easily while wearing gloves but generally doesn't support multitouch."
Visteon's rear projection touch-capable ICP can accommodate multitouch functions whether the user is or is not wearing gloves.
"A miniaturized digital projector generates the screen image while an infrared camera detects the presence of the user's finger and activates the function/s corresponding to the user's finger position," Tschirhart explained about the concept technology.
As with the sense of touch, visuals are important to drivers. According to Chris Round, Technical Sales for Visteon's Electronics Product Group, displaying information in 3-D is relevant because "information being shown to a driver can be prioritized and the customer can associate objects more quickly. For instance, with [future] 3-D navigation the driver can more readily identify a location with what he or she is seeing through the windshield."
Among Visteon's 3-D projects are prismatic chaplets and displays. These technologies are production-capable, but 3-D displays are likely to arrive first in consumer electronics applications, according to Round.
"The 3-D prismatic chaplets cluster and true 3-D display—which would require the graphics to be implemented in a more efficient/manageable solution in an automotive instrument cluster platform—represent our latest technology offerings," said Round. "We are also applying decorative overlays to fully reconfigurable clusters in order to provide more of a three-dimensional feel."
Visteon's next-generation cockpit electronic system takes a common-sense approach to product design. Rather than separate chip sets for driver information and center stack electronics, a single chip set would be used for both in a future electronics platform. According to Ian Foslien, Innovation Manager for Visteon's Corporate Innovation Group, "the system uses a single graphics processing unit to drive multiple reconfigurable TFT-LCD displays. This architecture reduces redundant hardware including memory, power supplies, and module housings."
"Sharing the same graphics processing unit can also simplify HMI development, enabling unique features like moving graphical objects from one display to another," Foslien added. "It is software upgradeable, and the hardware can be scaled to meet a variety of customer needs. For example, if the graphics processing unit were scaled to include image processing, such as camera overlays, that added capability could then be allocated via software to either the cluster or the center display."