Renault takes inspiration for display concept from smartphone
For its new flagship e-car, the Mégane E-Tech Electric, Renault has developed an electronics architecture with numerous innovations and state-of-the-art driver assistance systems. To make this architecture visually visible, the French carmaker has given the E-Tech Electric a particularly large integral display. The L-shaped display consists of a vertically arranged 12″ touchscreen for the centre console and an equally large horizontal screen for the instrument panel behind the steering wheel. With a total surface area of 774 square centimetres, it is the largest display ever offered by Renault in a vehicle.
In designing the screen, Renault’s developers say they were inspired by the smartphone – and not just by its technology, but also by the way it is used. “We take inspiration from familiar user skills that customers are used to from their smartphone. This way, they feel directly familiar with the screen,” explains Renault’s Experience Design Director, who reveals only his first name, Marc. “Customers get exactly the same experience on their car’s screen – only better. The screen is six times bigger than a smartphone screen. It’s definitely more comfortable when you’re behind the wheel,” Marc enthuses. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are still available, but the use of a phone is basically to be avoided.
Renault is working with Google, among others, to develop the user interaction, and with Qualcomm for the hardware. The processor manufacturer with deep roots in the smartphone business contributes its know-how in the areas of connectivity, digital cockpits and visualisation. In addition, Qualcomm is creating the basis for the next generation of vehicles up to the autonomous car with its platform and driver assistance know-how. South Korean company LG Electronics, which is also involved, developed the software platform to couple the two screens.
According to Renault, there were a number of challenges to be solved in the interaction design. One example is the controls and buttons on the steering wheel. The designers wanted to place as many functions as possible on the steering wheel to keep the centre console slim. However, the driver’s view of the instrument panel was not to be restricted. Therefore, the designers opted for a smaller, flattened steering wheel with a compact plate that provides a good view of the instruments.
Even in bright sunlight, the readability of the display does not suffer thanks to a specific coating
Other design goals were durability and robustness. That’s why the openR screen is made of robust aluminosilicate-based Gorilla Glass. The glass is extremely impact and scratch resistant and is designed for an estimated minimum lifetime of 15 years. An anti-reflective coating ensures a high-contrast image even in strong sunlight.
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