VAN BUREN TWP. (WWJ) – The dashboard of your car is about to become a video screen — maybe two or three feet wide by a foot or so tall.
You may even be able to watch video on it. Or use it as a display for your laptop or tablet. Or use it for live video conferences.
Of course, not while you’re driving. Well, unless the car is driving itself.
That vision of the automotive future was on display at Visteon Corp.’s headquarters in western Wayne County last week at an open house celebrating the opening of Visteon’s new Innovation Center, which combines a product showroom, design studio, collaboration space and experience laboratory.
Many of the vehicle cockpit concepts were part of Visteon’s big display at the International CES consumer electronics show back in January in Las Vegas.
Visteon showed off instrument panels that will share smartphones’ features — moving between apps and functions by pinching and swiping a screen.
They’ll also be easy to use: “If it takes 20 minutes to set up the stereo, we failed,” said Timothy J. Yerdon, director of global innovation design, research and development at Visteon.
Among the displays was LightScape D3.1, which offers HD video and complex 3D graphics in a 12.3-inch display that can replace an instrument panel. (When the instrument panel is showing you the stuff an instrument panel usually does — how fast you’re going, how much fuel you’ve got left — it will REALLY look like an instrument panel, because the parts it’s displaying are taken from actual CAD data of real parts, not an illustration.)
There was also the HMEye cockpit concept, which uses three infrared cameras hidden in the dash that let the instrument cluster track where you’re looking on the dash — or if you’ve been looking at the dash too long and not looking at the road (it gives you about three seconds before an alarm goes off). If you look at a particular part of the dash, as determined by the IR cameras, that part of the dash becomes active. Cool stuff.
Maybe even cooler was the Horizon Concept, which uses an infrared camera to monitor motions of your hand in front of the center console screen. You can move between functions by pushing in toward the screen in that particular area. You can twist virtual knobs in that area by making a twisting motion with your hand. The display also features two displays sandwiched on top of each other for a true 3D effect.
Oh, and by the way, the Halla Visteon Climate Control unit also showed off the heating and cooling system it built for the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car, the Hyundai ix35. There’s a heating unit — basically a toaster you blow air through — a cooling unit for the fuel cell stack, a coolant heater to keep the fuel cells at optimal operating temperatures in cold climates, and more.