A stop-sign, shining red hovers in front of the screen. Rows of houses rise out of the navigation system. The vehicle manufacturer’s logo rotates in the air in front of the dashboard. With these kinds of three-dimensional effects, Continental aims to revolutionize the way displays are configured in automotive vehicles. The technology company is currently developing an innovative cockpit solution, the Natural 3D Lightfield Instrument Cluster, in cooperation with Silicon Valley company Leia Inc. that will bring the third dimension into upcoming automotive vehicles, with unprecedented quality. Lightfield displays are the next generation of medium allowing not only the comfortable perception of 3D depth, but also the rendering of highlights, sparkles and other complex light effects. The technology enables information to be safely presented to the driver in real-time, allowing the driver´s interaction with the vehicle to become more comfortable and intuitive. It also allows passengers in the front and back seats to share the 3D experience with the driver.
“A new dimension of comfort and safety”
The new Lightfield cockpit is an evolutionary step in the design of the human-machine interaction within automotive vehicles. “One of today’s greatest challenges in the automotive industry is to develop intelligent concepts for the human-machine interaction. To create solutions that enhance the driver experience and allow the driver to simply and effectively interact with the vehicle without becoming distracted from the road”, explains Dr. Frank Rabe, head of business unit Instrumentation & Driver HMI at Continental. “The new Lightfield display does not just bring the third dimension of the highest quality into the vehicle – the innovative technology also creates a new dimension of comfort and safety. In addition, our solution provides every vehicle manufacturer the possibility to enhance the driver experience for their customers and to differentiate themselves from competitors thanks to customized scopes for design.” The new system is said to go into series production by 2022.
On the way to automated driving, there will be more opportunities for the driver to engage in other activities such as video calling, internet browsing or watching shows and movies. “The car is clearly the next frontier for Mobile” says David Fattal, Leia Inc. co-founder and CEO. “To us it’s a bigger, more immersive version of a smartphone with full 3D awareness of its environment. It’s a logical place to deploy our growing Lightfield ecosystem of immersive gaming, video streaming, social sharing, or even e-commerce.”
Visualizing content on a wide display specially designed for in-car visual comfort will be much more refined and enjoyable than using one´s smartphone. It will also offer the opportunity to leverage internal or external camera systems for video calling or augmented reality functions, a feature that the partnership intends to exploit.
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