Car cockpit uses lightfield technology for 3D display

June 16, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Lightfield 3D display
In cooperation with US company Leia Inc., is automotive supplier Continental developing an innovative cockpit solution: the "Natural 3D Lightfield Instrument Cluster". The solution brings the third dimension into future vehicles.

A stop sign floats bright red in front of the screen. Rows of houses growing out of the navigation system: Continental wants to revolutionize the display in vehicles with three-dimensional effects. According to Continental’s vision, Lightfield displays will not only enable comfortable 3D perception, but will also raise the graphic possibilities to a new level through highlighting, accentuation and complex lighting effects. According to the automotive technology company, drivers will be able to capture information reliably and in real time, making the dialogue between driver and vehicle more comfortable and intuitive. In contrast to existing solutions can the 3D representation be experienced by all passengers - in the front passenger seat as well as in the rear seats.

Continental praises the Lightfield cockpit as an "evolutionary step in the design of human-machine dialog in vehicles. "The new Lightfield display not only brings the third dimension into the vehicle in a new quality. With this innovative technology, we are also creating a new dimension of comfort and safety in automobiles," explains Dr. Frank Rabe, head of the Instrumentation & Driver HMI business unit at Continental. At the same time, this solution gives vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to enhance the driving experience for their customers and to differentiate themselves from the competition thanks to individual design options". The system should be ready for series production by 2022.

Development partner Leia Inc. is approaching the topic from a different angle. "For us, the car is a larger, more immersive version of a smartphone with full 3D environment capture," explains David Fattal, co-founder and CEO of Leia Inc. "So the implementation of our Lightfield ecosystem with virtual reality gaming, video streaming, social sharing or even e-commerce in the vehicle is a logical consequence”. This might sound somewhat bewildering in view of the traffic hazards posed by drivers handling their smartphones while driving and thus endangering their fellow human beings. But Fattal has another scenario in mind: the self-driving car, in which all passengers are allowed to deal with things that are not safety-critical.

The visualization of content on a wide display specially developed for vehicles is supposed to be more sophisticated and entertaining than on a smartphone. In addition, the new technology makes it possible to use internal or external camera systems for video calls or augmented reality functions. All these options are to be exploited within the framework of the cooperation between Continental and Leia.

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