MOTOR Magazine

A MOTOR Magazine Newsletter
September 24, 2019

Contributed by Bob Chabot
Bosch Paves the Way for 3D Displays

3D displays are the latest trend for vehicle cockpits

Digital displays are becoming a key feature of vehicle cockpits, according to Bosch, which introduced its new 3D display product at the IAA 2019 Autoshow in Frankfurt, Germany. With its new 3D display product on display in a 2020 Volkswagen Touareg, Bosch demonstrated how it is responding to this trend.

“3D display is bigger, more visually attractive and has many other advanced features,” said Dr. Steffen Berns, president of Bosch Car Multimedia. “Displays are increasingly becoming interactive systems that can better anticipate drivers’ individual needs.”

Neither drivers nor passengers want to be without the display and control features they now enjoy on devices such as smartphones and televisions. But there is more to it than that: in the cockpits of the future, digital displays will play a key role in the interaction between drivers and their vehicles. The new 3D product uses passive 3D technology to generate a realistic three-dimensional effect that allows visual information to be grasped faster than when displayed on conventional screens.

“There is huge business potential in vehicles for this technology,” he added. “Forecasts from Global Market Insights suggest that the global vehicle display market will double from 15 billion dollars today to 30 billion dollars by 2025. Whether curved, equipped with organic LEDS or freely configurable — Bosch regularly sets the benchmark for vehicle displays.”

Bosch announced in early August 2019 that it has developed 3D displays for use in vehicles. The new 3D display relies on passive 3D technology to create a convincing three-dimensional effect that both drivers and passengers can see – without 3D glasses or eye tracking — which brings an unprecedented sense of depth to vehicle instrumentation and improved visualization to assistance systems. (All images — Bosch Car Multimedia)

3D Effect in the Cockpit
On the movie screen, a 3D effect serves primarily to enhance a film’s entertainment value. But in a vehicle, it’s a different case. “The display’s depth of field means drivers can grasp important visual information faster, whether from an assistance system or a traffic-jam alert,” Berns stated. “Alerts that seem to jump out of the display are much more obvious and urgent.”

For example, when parking, the rear-view camera image is more realistic, allowing obstacles to be detected earlier. Moreover, drivers can get an even better idea of how much space they have left between the rear fender and, say, a parking garage wall.

In addition, when navigating street canyons, the 3D effect also plays a decisive role, as the spatial depth of the map display makes it immediately clear which building marks the next turn. Bosch’s new 3D display makes use of a passive 3D technology, which works completely without the need for any additional features, such as eye tracking or 3D glasses.

Bosch’s next-generation cockpit enables drivers to operate the infotainment, navigation and air-conditioning systems (either via voice control or a touchscreen with haptic feedback) without having to take their eyes off the road.

Innovative and Interactive
“The eyes are responsible for 90 percent of all human sensory perception,” shared Berns. “Simply showing information on a car display instrument is old hat. The future is all about interaction between users and displays.” Bosch demonstrated it is ready for this. Its portfolio includes applications of all kinds — from small and flat to large and curved, and sometimes in unusual shapes such as round or with trimmed corners. On top of this, interaction can take the form of voice or touch control — the latter also with haptic feedback.

When asked by MOTOR, Berns explained, “Bosch is developing infotainment to suit any automaker customer. And when the drivers in the near future let their autopilot do the driving, our 3D technology’s human-machine interface (HMI) will be crucially significant for the interaction between the vehicle and its driver.”

As displays grow in size, become more multi-purpose and intelligent, and feature voice and touch control, greater computing power is needed. This could mean many more control units. Even now, as many as 15 back-end processing units control the display and operating systems.

“Bosch’s technology uses just one cockpit computer to coordinate the entire HMI, and it delegates all control functions to one central control unit,” Berns explained. “We put intelligence into the cockpit. Fewer control units also means less weight, and vehicle development times are also reduced. Thanks to over-the-air updates, the infotainment system can be kept up to date as easily as a smartphone.”

Bosch has been working on developing 3D display technology for over five years. Its first freely programmable analog display technology went into production five years ago in the Audi TT (left). At the September 2019 IAA Auto Show in Frankfurt, Germany, Bosch displayed its new advanced, freely configurable, high-resolution, curved 3D Display technology in a 2020 Volkswagen Touareg.

Safety Effect: 3D Means Visual Information can be Understood Faster
Vehicle displays are increasingly subject to rigorous safety standards, especially when it comes to temperature fluctuations and vibrations. These standards are far higher in automobiles than for consumer electronics. For example, over the vehicle’s entire service life, vehicle displays have to work perfectly, whether the temperature is minus 40 or plus 250 degrees Celsius.

Since the 1980s, the company has repeatedly set milestones for vehicle display instruments, such as the world’s first digital display, featured in the cockpit of the Audi Quattro. It was also thanks to Bosch that the first freely programmable display went into production in the Audi TT some five years ago.

Bosch is also behind the world’s first curved instrument cluster in the Innovision cockpit of the latest VW Touareg. The company also applies its digital innovations to display instruments for motorcycles and e-bikes.

“Keeping safety first matters,” stressed Berns. “Even in the event of partial failure, drivers have to be able to rely on a minimum amount of vital information at all times. Bosch’s new 3D display technology, like all our operating systems, are tested thoroughly to make them fit for vehicle use in all these conditions.”

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