Forget digital displays, Continental is stepping it up a notch with its 3D instrument cluster that will debut in the Genesis GV80 SUV.

Car technology is moving quickly. And while digital clusters have been fast replacing analogue dials it seems they’re already old hot with news that Continental is working on an autostereoscopic 3D instrument cluster to be included on the Genesis GV80. The GV80 will be available later this year with the 3D display only available on the top-spec model.

According to Continental, the screen shows three-dimensional scales, pointers and objects and you won’t need 3D glasses to see the display in three-dimensions. Continental said it uses “parallax barriers – slanted slats that divide the image for the viewer – as if looking at real objects, two different, slightly offset views reach the right and left eye, resulting in the three-dimensional image”. Cool, no more dorky glasses.

But it gets even cooler. The camera that watches the driver is able to detect their line of sight and adjust the 3D views to the spot the driver’s looking at. Could get mesmerising.

To prevent drivers from focusing on the 3D screen for too long, the camera is also on the lookout for distraction and fatigue and warns the driver and can adjust the imagery to avoid distraction.

“With our volume-production display featuring autostereoscopic 3D technology, we are raising human-machine interaction to a whole new level and laying the foundations for intuitive communication in the connected cockpit of tomorrow,” said Dr. Frank Rabe, head of the Human Machine Interface business unit at Continental. 

“To ensure that this gain in safety and comfort does not come at the expense of a lean electronics architecture, we integrated various displays in the center console or dashboard into our Cross Domain Hub.”

Continental reckons it plans to combine all of the vehicle’s clever bits into one system. It’s calling it the Cross Domain Hub and it’s the brain behind this 3D instrument cluster. The system will eventually be beefed up and used to control multiple displays scattered across a vehicle’s dashboard.

“The driver will be able to distribute content across multiple displays, for example by means of gesture control, dragging navigation maps from the front passenger’s display onto their own screen and arranging exactly where they want to place them. In automated driving mode, the displays merge across the entire width of the cockpit and offer all the services and apps that are otherwise only available on the front passenger’s side,” Continental said.

It gets better. See, Continental isn’t just working on 3D displays for the driver but has collaborated with Leia Inc. to develop 3D displays for use by those in the backseat of a vehicle. It’s called the Natural 3D Display and Continental reckons it’s lightweight, compact and cheaper than current systems. It “opens up an entire world of digital services to all the passengers in a connected car – from video conferences and online shopping to augmented reality games and 3D movies”. 

Instead of the parallax barriers being used in the GV80, this system relies on Diffractive Lightfield Backlighting technology from Leia. The boffins said, “An optical waveguide with diffraction grating and nanostructures beneath the display panel creates a natural 3D effect by bending the light. Continental is adapting this technology for use in vehicles”. The system is planned for production by 2022.

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