Automated cockpits will ‘choreograph’ digital and physical functions

New technologies mean the car could soon cater to passenger needs automatically, writes Freddie Holmes

The autonomous vehicle remains in its early stages and human-machine interface (HMI) solutions are still being fleshed out. Removing the need for human oversight opens up new opportunities for cabin design, and innovative new concepts could influence how vehicles interact with drivers moving forward.

Special report: Automotive HMI

The roadmap for autonomous driving is based largely on the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) scale of automation. Focus has turned toward Level 3 systems of late, which will allow drivers to look away from the road in strictly defined scenarios when the system is engaged. The challenge is that at some point, the driver will be asked to take back control of the vehicle. The HMI must be designed in a way that these prompts are heeded.

Along with finding solutions for partial autonomy, companies are also working on ways to make passengers more comfortable. ‘Smart surfaces’ are…