When Volvo Concept Estate is unveiled at Geneva it will give customers a first glimpse of the new in-car experience that Volvo has developed. The new system will be launched later in the year when the XC90 is introduced in the UK market.
The new system as of yet unnamed has eliminated almost all control knobs and buttons from the dashboardâ€™s fascia. Instead a big touch screen will take centre stage and all functions can be operated using this interface.
The new interface makes use of four tiles which represent four key functions. The topmost tile is reserved for navigation which is followed by media and telephone while the lowest is used to control climate control. A thin notification band is located above the tiles to keep the driver abreast with all the crucial information.
The button system is not completely done away with- there are buttons on the steering wheel for frequently used commands. Voice control is also said to have been incorporated in a major way to boost convenience.
The tiles on the touch screen expand on interaction and the unused tiles shrink away in the background while still being available if required.
Thomas Ingenlath, Sr.VP, president design, Volvo Car Group, had to say this about the new system,Â Â Â “The basic idea is to organise controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user- friendly way. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient, and safe.”
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Volvo Car Group will use the Geneva Motor Show to reveal its new in-car control system, which is designed around a large tablet-like touch screen that will simplify and enhance the way drivers operate their cars.
The touch screen replaces the traditional selection of buttons and controls in the centre stack with one clean and sleek control panel. It will blend established tablet functionality, such as swiping and pinching, with new solutions that are specially designed for the in-car environment. It also interacts with the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.
"The basic idea is to organise controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user- friendly way. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient, and safe," says Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design from Volvo Car Group.
This ground-breaking driver experience will be introduced in the next car generation, starting with the all-new Volvo XC90 later in 2014.
"The new user interface is designed to create a smooth, logical and safe interaction between the driver and the car," says Thomas Ingenlath. "This goes far beyond just putting a large tablet in the centre of the dashboard. We have created a digital environment that is fully integrated in the car."
Logical stack of four 'tiles'
The layout on the portrait screen can be described as a stack of flexible 'tiles', each displaying a key functionality. Navigation is on the top, followed by media and telephone.
A thin notification band is located above the tiles, while the digital climate controls become the 'foundation' of the pile.
"Information, navigation and media are high up and easy to keep an eye on. The phone controls, application icons and climate controls are located low, comfortable to reach and touch. Using the screen is so logical that it will be part of your muscle memory very quickly," explains Thomas Ingenlath.
The smooth user interface also includes thumb-reach controls on the steering wheel and extensive voice-control possibilities.
The new user interface is designed so that the tiles on the touch screen expand on interaction. When one of the tiles expands to display required information, the others are compressed, still visible and instantly accessible.
"Having all functions present all the time makes the touch screen exceptionally user- friendly. The spacious layout also promotes smooth interaction without distraction," says Thomas Ingenlath.
Crystal clear but calm
"Creating this crystal clear, yet calm, environment is a core part of our digital craftsmanship. It is fine for an ordinary tablet to fight for your full attention but a touch screen in a car is very different. Information must be clear and user-friendly, without turning up the visual volume so much that you risk losing focus on the road. This also makes it easier to make really urgent information, such as a warning, much more distinctive," concludes Thomas Ingenlath