The EDAG Group, the world's largest independent engineering partner to the automotive industry, shows the extraordinary potential of the new system in a demonstrator. This takes the form of a simple centre console with an armrest area, and illustrates how such operating systems might be implemented as 100% touch display solutions in the future. The display allows operation without much hand movement, which has a positive effect on ergonomics while driving.
One of the key features of the display are recesses which are intended to serve as finger guides, to enable the driver to find the controls without looking. The brightness, colour, form and function of the control elements can be altered dynamically. Further, the user interface can be personalised, and upgrades in the form of software updates or apps are also possible. The display features a somewhat larger, rectangular recess. This area is reserved for context-sensitive control elements. Also rectangular in shape, but considerably narrower, the control panel above it is designed as a finger guide recess, and though devised primarily for adjusting the volume of the infotainment system, can also be used for other value settings. Even the "HOME" and "BACK" buttons in today's solutions are available in a new design, and are located in the lower part of the display, in the form of two recesses.
Another important thing: simply touching the control panel will not immediately trigger a function – this will only happen if the control panel is pressed a little harder. This makes blind operation simple despite the acceleration forces that occur while the vehicle is in motion. The system developed by the EDAG Group has four haptic feedback actuators which analyse the contact pressure of the finger of the person currently at the controls, and adjust the system accordingly via the software. A Kyocera piezo ceramic-based component that generates electrical voltage as a result of the application of a mechanical force (known as piezo effect) forms the core of the actuators.
The EDAG Group developed the corresponding electronics and software in a 24-month period. The scalable system can be used in small displays with a diagonal measurement ranging from 2 to 30 inches. The aim is its use in concept cars or production vehicles.