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The challenges of future vehicle interiors


Novel concepts of conformed and shaped screens, holography, dynamic lighting, etc..., aim to revolutionize car HMIs, and completely change the user experience within the future mobility solutions.

Think of the magic behind the smartphone, an empty surface (essentially a screen) which can turn into the greatest Swiss army knife ever devised, through the interaction, connectivity and contextual response.   With the emergence of the new mobility concepts (connected car, self driving, etc...), vehicles are turning virtually into huge cellphones on wheels. But our cockpits are still quite static and not context-aware, while some concepts with basically embedded iPads give the chills to interior designers.

With the gradual transition to autonomous cars, the vehicle HMI will have to address the entertainment, information and communication needs of the passengers. Knobs and buttons inside the car are disappearing giving way to touch screens. Mechanical dashboards have already been replaced by digital ones in new car models, and bigger areas of the car interior are being occupied by displays providing useful driver information and passengers’ entertainment. As displays become more and larger, it is increasingly difficult to accommodate flat displays in an ergonomically optimised interior design where every other surface is curved. 
Automotive is one of the key target markets of PHENOMENON, with our partner PSA devising new user experiences, and optical surfaces concibed to provide optimal visibility with minimum visual stress or energy consumption.

Plastic Organic Liquid Crystal Display (OLCD) technology developed by our partner FlexEnable is a viable solution for vehicle HMIs that require low cost, large area, curved and shaped displays. OLCD has a plastic Organic Thin Film Transistor (OTFT) backplane which replaces the standard glass a-Si TFT backplane and enables the display to be easily cut to non-square shapes during the production process and holes in the display are also possible. Moreover, the OTFT process developed by FlexEnable can be used to adapt existing LCD production lines to make organic LCD (OLCD) screens. Additionally, the novel light management backlight developed in PHENOMENON will help to achieved an even higher brightness backlight improving the display performance. Not only is OLCD the lowest cost flexible display technology, it also enables ultra-bright conformable and shapeable displays for viewing in daylight conditions.