Bosch debuts curved instrument cluster
Bosch is putting a curved instrument cluster, what it says is a world first, in the cockpit of a mass-production vehicle.
“The days of flat instrument displays are over. With the world’s first curved instrument cluster, Bosch is opening up a new dimension in vehicle cockpits,” said Steffen Berns, President of the Car Multimedia division.
The “curved” instrument cluster will be celebrating its debut in the Innovision Cockpit of the new VW Touareg. This means that Volkswagen is replacing analog display technology behind the steering wheel with what Bosch says is a freely configurable, high-resolution, curved display. The screen is able to display large-area navigation maps, driver information, or the status of the assistance systems. A new manufacturing process is said to enable the display's sharpness and contrast, with which the instrument cluster reflects more than four times less light, even in the sunlight.
The manufacturing process is used to make screens for flat displays with high contrast, even in bright ambient light. In cooperation with its partners, Bosch says it is now using this process in the large-scale production of a curved display for the vehicle cockpit. In the process, which is called optical bonding, a thin liquid is used to bond the instrument display and glass directly to each other. The perfect connection of the two components enables the instrument cluster to reflect more than four times less light. For the driver, this means that there is virtually no glare and the display is rich in contrast and clear in both direct sunlight and darkness.
The curvature of the display mimics the natural curvature of the human eye. As a result, the driver is reportedly able to detect indicator lights and warning signals much better, even those at the edge of the screen. Bosch says that this gives it an advantage over the familiar curved monitors at home in the living room, where only one person can sit at the optimum viewing angle at any one time. In contrast, the curved instrument cluster in a vehicle always optimally accommodates the driver’s view, according to Bosch.
Information such as the speedometer, navigation maps, and telephone list contents to be displayed on the instrument cluster, with a screen diagonal of close to 31 cm (12.3 in), are determined by the driver, depending on the driving situation and personal preference. An intelligent control system, which ensures that the driver always sees the desired screen contents at a glance, is invisible to the driver and is concealed behind the cockpit on a control unit.
Each piece of information can be displayed over the entire screen or shown in combination with other contents. Anyone who wants to display the navigation map and the telephone list in addition to the traditional speedometer can do so by making those selections using the multifunction steering wheel or the infotainment’s touchscreen. It is also possible to perform a targeted zoom into the navigation map directly on the instrument cluster.
“Drivers benefit from curved instrument clusters in terms of safety and convenience. At the same time, this type of display gives automotive manufacturers greater freedom and more space in the design of the cockpit,” said Berns. Beneath the surface, the display combines a large number of digital displays while taking up almost two centimeters less space than a non-curved screen of comparable size.