Volvo builds HMI around large centre-stack touch screen

February 27, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Though criticized by many car owners, Tesla's cockpit approach with a large flat computer screen serving as Human-machine interface apparently inspires other carmakers to similar designs. At the imminent Geneva Motor Show, Volvo will showcase a very similar user interface.

Volvo's new in-car control system is designed around a large portrait-oriented tablet-like touch screen that replaces the traditional conglomeration of buttons and controls in the centre stack with one clean control panel. The expand blends conventional tablet functionalities such as swiping and pinching with new solutions that Volvo designed for in-car environments. The centre stack panel also interacts with the instrument cluster in front of the driver.

The basic idea is to organise controls and information in an intuitive and user-friendly way, Volvo commented. The company intends to create a smooth and logical, thus safe interaction between driver and car. Thomas Ingenlath, Senior VP Design at Volvo cars, disagrees that the new concept simply replaces conventional controls through creating a digital lookalike on a computer screen. "This environment is fully integrated in the vehicle", he said.

The layout of the screen represents a stack of flexible 'tiles' of which each one displays a key functionality. Navigation is on to, followed by media and telephone from top to bottom. A notification band is located above the tiles while the climate controls form the optical foundation of the pile. Besides the screen-based controls, thumb-reach controls on the steering wheels and extensive voice-control features round off the HMI concept.

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