The digital cockpit reimages how we interact with our vehicles and provides more screens for visual output. Gauges are no more.
With digital binnacle clusters, drivers can choose to have their navigation and directions displayed closer to their eye line, while still being able to see their current speed and speed limits. The central screen can be dedicated to controlling music, air conditioning and vehicle status. Alternatively, the driver could choose to display navigation on the central screen to give a broad overview of the journey ahead, with music information displayed on the dashboard.
Towards the digital cockpit
The separation between the cockpit components of a car specifically oriented around driving and the rest of the cabin’s features like infotainment and navigation no longer exists.
The analog dashboard with digital infotainment features placed alongside it, will become a thing of the past in favor of the digital cockpit – an entire ecosystem of screens, input and output devices that integrate completely.
Driving is no longer a case of just turning a wheel, pushing pedals and pulling levers. Now, the task requires balance. The driver must control the motion of the vehicle, while also ensuring the in-vehicle experience is comfortable and engaging, and that driver safety aids are working as intended.
As more technologies are added to our vehicles, drivers run the risk of being overloaded with information. Adding more screens might not sound like the solution to this, however, digital displays provide car brands with the opportunity to design user interfaces that ensure drivers don’t become overwhelmed with too much information.
As TomTom’s Principal UX designer Drew Meehan puts it, the objective is to “inform without overwhelming.” The trick is to find ways of using screen real estate to provide drivers with information that informs action plus an overview of the road ahead.
In principle, drivers should only be shown the information they need at a given point in their journey, but they should have control over how that’s displayed. The digital cockpit is the perfect contemporary solution.
The digital cockpit reconfigures how we experience our vehicles from the inside. It lets carmakers integrate their brand and experience across the entire cabin, provides drivers with more detail and customization opportunities, and is the future of our how we interact with our cars.