Reduction to the essentials: This is what the car of the future will look like

Cars used to be packed with levers and switches, as well as analogue displays for speed, revs and fuel level. Then the first small screens appeared – mostly in the form of a navigation system. Today, no vehicle would be unthinkable without touchscreens. In some cases, they already occupy the entire dashboard. BMW is currently shooting the bird. The people of Munich install a giant screen in the back of their IX7, which can be folded down when needed and entertains the passengers with movies or information.

Displays in the car: Dangerous black

As much as it all looks smart and innovative: the screens pose a danger. Because the driver risks being distracted from what is happening on the road by touch screens where the functions are embedded in submenus. So screens don’t seem to be the last word. – But what should a car look like in the future to really offer passengers the greatest possible comfort and optimal safety? Researchers at car manufacturers and suppliers are pondering this question. Among other things at Faurecia, a company in the FORVIA group, which was established in February 2022 and consists of the companies Faurecia and Hella. COMPUTER BILD asked Andreas Wlasak, Vice President Industrial Design at Faurecia.

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Faurecia researchers: focus on the essentials

“The future operating system will contain a little bit of everything, but only as much as necessary,” says Wlasak. “The so-called multimodal interfaces combine language, gestures, touch, head and eye movements with behavioral predictions – in such a way that the control feels as natural and intuitive as possible for the individual user, just like in normal conversations between people. Therefore, the car must be able to adapt to different passengers and situations. For example, you would be more likely to use voice control if you were alone in the car.”

The technology is aimed at the passengers

Measuring stand for testing car accessories

How does a human using the car work? Faurecia is researching this using this benchmark.

In order to find out how the car of the future is optimally set up, Faurecia researches, among other things, how the passengers behave in the vehicle. “Where one person likes to use the gaze control, the other prefers to use the dial,” explains Andreas Wlasak. “We can measure how long it takes a driver to perform a certain task – e.g. tune into a radio station. The better an operating concept works, the less attention and time is required for it.”

This is what the car of the future will look like

Wlasak therefore considers it unlikely that the screens in future models will be even larger – and suggests alternatives: “The end of the road has been reached in relation to the size of the integrated screens in relation to the small distance you sit in front of them. . And the sustainability factor also plays a role an increasingly important role: Screens increase the car’s weight and energy requirements. We are therefore developing concept studies where residents are offered the same service, but without these large screens: for example via disappearing displays or interactive surfaces. There are already scenarios where screens are deliberately avoided, where you use your own smartphone as a screen.”

Car becomes play and workplace

Study: the car of the future

Work, play, relax: this is what tomorrow’s road trip will look like.

If you look at studies from almost all car manufacturers, the researchers and designers apparently believe that in the future we will no longer just sit in the car to get from A to B, but will use the time sensibly – for work, for example. . Is what you see at car shows just “crazy” or is there something to it. Wlasak is optimistic about COMPUTER BILD: “There are actually no technical obstacles today, but rather at the regulatory level. As soon as the driver turns away from the road or the passenger seats face each other, it becomes a safety problem. The longer the automation of vehicles progress, the greater our creative freedom. But we have come a long way: video conferences in your own sound bubble, video streaming as a 4D cinema experience with all occupants or wellness treatments with vibration or massage in the seat are already a reality today.”

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