SAN JOSE, California — To simplify the driver's cockpit, Harman International Industries is going in with new technology, without entirely abandoning the old.
At a Silicon Valley event, the infotainment supplier emphasized the challenge of displaying the ever-increasing amount of information without distracting the driver. The company's near-term solution combines touch-screen technology with traditional controls.
"We need to be able to balance the cognitive load of the driver while displaying the information they want," said Tricia Rapin, a product manager at Harman.
The supplier is using a large display touch screen with three knobs that feature changeable display screens and control different actions depending on what page the larger screen is on. The knobs could adjust cabin temperature, fan strength and circulation if the screen is showing HVAC settings, or sound controls if the screen is displaying infotainment options.
Rapin said multiple automaker customers wanted to move away from infotainment systems that were purely touch controlled, which can be distracting and difficult to operate.
Harman is also attempting to keep the driver's eyes forward by integrating a digital cluster with the infotainment screen. If the driver wants to keep an eye on navigation or music, they can move the information from the head unit by dragging it on the touch screen to the edge closest the cluster, and it will move to the cluster screen.