„Shy” displays provide visual calm in the car

„Shy” displays provide visual calm in the car

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

In modern, networked and, in the future, increasingly automated vehicles, a great deal of information is processed and displayed. However, not every message displayed is relevant in every situation. It can even lead to distraction and endanger driving safety. On the other hand, large displays without content do not contribute to harmonious cockpit design. As an alternative to large visible display designs, Continental has developed a technology with the descriptive name ShyTech Display: A screen that only appears when it is needed.

The idea not only pursues aesthetic goals such as simplicity and clarity. Above all, it is intended to increase user-friendliness and improve safety while driving by blocking out potential distractions. “Displays are the central human-machine interface in the vehicle,” says Ulrich Lüders, Head of Strategy and Portfolio in the Human Machine Interface business unit at Continental. “The design of display solutions therefore takes on a central role in the design of the cockpit. For us, our ShyTech Displays are the epitome of the cockpit of the future: digital, immersive and ‘shy’.”

With the ShyTech Display, Continental is meeting the increasing demand for large-screen solutions, which are becoming more and more standard, especially in the upmarket vehicle segments. If required, the ShyTech Display can take up the entire width of the instrument panel. In view of the trend towards so-called mega-screens, the questions arise: How can an overstimulation of the vehicle occupants be prevented despite very large monitors? And: How can display areas that are not being used be visually enhanced?

Continental’s developers see the solution in ShyTech displays. These only become visible when they are needed. This is made possible by a semi-transparent surface that allows screens to be seamlessly integrated into the surrounding surface – both visually and haptically. When the display is not needed, it is practically invisible to the human eye. At the same time, the automotive supplier is pursuing the approach of a purist interior design reduced to the essentials.

In concrete terms, this means that even if the instrument panel appears visually as if it were cast from a single mould, navigation or communication information, for example, as well as the menu of the touchscreen are always present. However, the screen’s displays and controls are only activated when a hand approaches. It is also possible to activate the display via voice control or by briefly tapping the screen surface.

Continental also sees its technology as a solution to the design requirement that switched-off screens appear as visually unappealing black blank spaces. The display surface is designed to imitate the look of the instrument panel. Depending on the configuration, this can be that of wood trim, carbon trim or a leathered surface, for example. Moreover, it not only looks like the original material, it also feels like it. In addition, disturbing light reflections, for example when the sun is low in the sky, are reduced.

A system concept developed by Continental ensures seamless integration of the ShyTech display even when it is activated. The system consists, among other things, of a special backlighting which, in special coordination with the LCD panel and the decorative surface, allows the display content to appear in the ideal brightness and image sharpness in any lighting situation – from bright sunlight to dull rainy weather. The display’s razor-sharp readings also impress with their high contrast values.

Continental plans to make the ShyTech Display available in 2023.

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