‘Natural’ Driver Control Promised by Latest Hyundai Virtual Cockpit

Hyundai claims its virtual cockpit will provide a more natural driver control experience thanks to a ‘multi-layer display’ instrument cluster.

The steering wheel mounted cluster is heralded as less distracting for teched-up drivers currently being blamed for a rise in fatal accidents particularly in the US. The system has two displays, stacked 6mm on top of each other, creating 3D effects.

One display will show a section of a graphic while other parts of the graphic will be displayed on the secondary screen. Information critical to the driver, such as a speed limit, would be shown on the front display. Something less urgent, such as energy or fuel remaining, will be on the rear display. There is a gap between each readout screen creating the effect of having an object ‘floating’ in the display which, according to Hyundai, is less distracting to the driver.

The displays can be customized according to the driver’s preferences, with pre-prepared ‘shortcuts’ for specific situations. The information on the steering wheel will also change according to conditions providing weather warnings or traffic jam notifications. Hyundai says its displays can be altered much like a smartphone homescreen, with up to five button placements for drivers to choose from.

The automaker’s study, held in collaboration with the Würzburg Institute for Traffic Science, claims to reveal its new displays are below what is deemed acceptable for in-cabin distractions while driving. Test drivers reported that even the more complex situations were only slightly distracting, “noticeable but not as strenuous or interfering with the driving task”.

The technology is still in its early stages, Hyundai says, and require more development before it is to be deployed on a commercially available vehicle. Regina Kaiser, human machine interface senior engineer at Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center, said: “We are continuously working on new technologies that make our cars perfectly intuitive and user-friendly. We are doing research on the learnability, intuition and potential driver distraction of the virtual cockpit.”


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