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Six ways your dashboard will change by 2018

Published: 07 April 2015

► Future gazing: dash technology
► How car cockpits are evolving
► Our tech correspondent reports

Your 2018 car’s digital instrumentation should be as crisp as a 50-inch High Definition television’s display, claims Visteon, the electronics giant behind Jaguar-Land Rover infotainment systems. Visteon’s next-generation ‘SmartCore’ system (pictured) packs an enhanced instrument cluster, head-up displays and infotainment plus connectivity to the cloud, web, e-mail and ’phone, blending it into one powerful system run off an in-car SIM or your mobile. Heading for a production car in three years, it’s just the start of the dashboard revolution. Here are six tricks your next car’s dashboard is about to learn:

1) Displays jump from dash to windscreen

Head-up displays, as in this Visteon ‘SmartCore’ system, proliferate with more driver info and augmented reality navigation that project direction arrows on the road ahead. It should end those infuriating wrong turns, when two streets come up in quick succession and you gamble on the wrong one.

2) It’ll protect itself from viruses

Strict internet security and electronic firewalls between individual cores vital to prevent vehicle and safety-critical software from being hacked or infected by malware accidently downloaded from the web. Manufacturers will automatically upgrade systems over the internet in the same manner as your PC or iPad does.

3) Buttons? Where we’re going, we don’t need buttons

Super thin screens, compact air-con systems and lighter aluminium cabling save weight and free up valuable interior space for bigger cabins in cars with smaller footprints. A combination of voice, touch, swipe, gesture controls and virtual switches replace today’s mechanical knobs and switchgear.

4) Displays so sharp you’ll need safety specs

High definition screens with photo-realistic rendering running at 60 frames per second display 3-D instruments. Drivers configure their own colours or download new layouts from manufacturers’ websites.

5) A virtual assistant will book dinner for you

Concierge service software books restaurants, theatres and parking spaces for you. Massive expansion of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure will transmit real-time traffic info to dodge jams: a UK study into this on closed Midlands roads starts soon. Traffic light recognition software computes ideal speed to ensure you arrive at web-connected green lights, easing traffic flow and helping reduce emissions.

6) It’ll decide if you’re too distracted for phone calls

Intelligent software monitors driver workload to determine if you are capable of receiving and interacting with emails, the phone and other web based protocols. Embedded sensors in seat fabric or seat belt detect heart rate and respiration and alert the driver in case of drowsiness.

By Ian Adcock

CAR's engineering whizz, making sense of oily bits and megabytes

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