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In-car displays: Latest tech from Continental

What will in-car displays look like in the near future? According to automotive supplier Continental, the latest trends include ergonomic shapes, private viewing for passengers, and even a display that completely disappears.

Getting angular
An ergonomic V-​Shaped display that is production ready has already won Continental an order worth more than $1 billion from an Asian vehicle manufacturer. The state-​of-the-art display will be integrated into multiple car lines worldwide.

"Our V-​shaped display solution provides superior comfort and ergonomics for the driver, simplifies capturing important driving information, and offers an even more appealing two-​in-one solution. It is suitable for a wide range of vehicle variants," said Philipp von Hirschheydt, head of the User Experience Business Area at Continental.

The V-​shape unit consists of a flat display with a backlight and is covered with a curved ("V-​shaped") glass. It extends from the driver's area to the center console and visually connects the two screens of the instrument cluster and center information display under one surface. The radius and angle of the display focuses on the driver's perspective, placing him or her at the center of the information output. Its ergonomics make it even easier for the driver to perceive relevant information faster, which should reduce driver distraction and can make driving safer. The start of production is scheduled for 2023.

Thanks to the use of a special Optical Bonding technology, there is no visible boundary or gap between the instrument cluster and the embedded information display. This results in a seamless V-​shaped appearance of the display solution. Its free-​standing design contributes to a very smooth integration into the curved lines of elegant dashboard shapes.

In addition, the radius of this solution allows the visual content to be viewed even more comfortably from the driver's seat. All content is displayed at almost the same viewing distance, allowing the driver to capture information more easily and quickly. Thus, the display solution creates a kind of "surround" experience that can improve the driver's user experience and driving safety.

A large display that disappears
Earlier this year, Continental was awarded a top gold prize for its ShyTech display for excellent product design at the German Design Awards in the Automotive Parts and Accessories category.

"Our solution seamlessly integrates high-​resolution displays into a two-​dimensionally shaped surface in real wood or leather look, where the displays disappear completely and content only appears when in use," said von Hirschheydt.

With the ShyTech display, Continental is setting a new standard for the increasing demand for large screen solutions in vehicles. If necessary, the display can take the entire width of the instrument panel, but it still aims to prevent sensory overload of the vehicle occupants. It manages to visually enhance unused display surfaces, because ShyTech displays are only visible when they are needed.

This is made possible thanks to a semi-​transparent surface. It ensures that the screen can be seamlessly integrated into the surrounding surface -- both visually and haptically. Even if the instrument panel appears to be made of one piece, navigation or other communication information as well as the menu of the touchscreen are always available. At the same time, Continental's innovation solves the design requirement of not letting inactive screens appear as blank black areas. Depending on the configuration, the display surface appears either as a wooden panel or as a leather-​covered surface. Not only does it look like the original material, it also feels like it. Thanks to ShyTech innovations, screens can be placed virtually anywhere in the interior.

The system includes a special backlight that, in coordination with the LCD panel and the décor surface, allows the display contents to appear in ideal brightness and sharpness in every lighting situation -- from glistening sunlight to cloudy, rainy weather. The razor-​sharp visuals of the display also impress with high contrast values.

Private mode entertains passengers, reduces driver distraction
To help combat driver distraction but keep the front passenger entertained, Continental has developed an innovative display that allows vehicle information to be displayed dynamically, either in a private mode or in a way that everyone can see.

Although privacy functions have been used for some time for laptop displays, they were not previously suitable for use in the automotive sector. Using private mode, users prevent content from being viewed by people in their immediate vicinity.

Using Switchable Privacy Display technology, this screen type allows front passengers to use multimedia content such as videos or the infotainment system without distracting the driver from road traffic. If necessary and the traffic situation permits, all vehicle passengers can optionally be given access to this content by means of a switchover.

In privacy mode, less than 1% of light emission is received by the driver. At the same time, the display generates a high-​quality image for the passenger.

"Thanks to our expertise in back-​illumination and plastics technology, our Switchable Privacy Display includes a range of key components that we have developed and also manufactured ourselves," said Kai Hohmann, product manager for Continental Display Solutions. "This enables us to meet the highest quality requirements both from vehicle manufacturers and users in terms of contrast, luminance, and image homogeneity. In addition, we will continue to increase energy efficiency until it is launched on the market, thereby making the technology even more sustainable."

The market launch of the new Switchable Privacy Display is planned for 2024.

Source: Continental

Published September 2022

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