Being aware of what’s happening with the car’s various systems while driving is important for safety. Yet the driver needs to give as much attention as possible to driving and the road ahead, so information coming from displays on the dashboard has to be thoughtfully considered and presented in a way that can be understood quickly.
Over the years, more and more information has been included in displays; originally, it was just speed, rpm, coolant temperature and fuel level. In sportier models, you might get a gauge showing the oil temperature and pressure as well as a voltmeter. On one Hyundai coupe, you could even know how much torque was being generated in real-time!
The danger of information ‘overload’ has been apparent for some time and in fact, a recent article in a British newspaper even reported that 98% of drivers (in the UK) don’t understand most of the warning lights. So interior designers have studied how displays in fighter jets are designed as there is a lot of information the pilot must be shown and understand while travelling at very high speeds.
With the second generation of the S40 (introduced in 2004), Volvo developed IDIS – the Intelligent Driver Information System – which was derived from fighter aircraft technology. The system helped the driver avoid being distracted while driving by selective display of information according to its importance. The IDIS function continuously registered the driver’s activity by monitoring steering wheel movements, the accelerator pedal, turn signal function, braking and so on. This information was processed and at a given activity level, information not essential to safety is held back.
Given the importance of not overloading the driver with information, it would seem that providing up to 69 sources of information on a display can be a big challenge for interior designers. That’s what is available for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and this information ranges from an interactive performance timer to tyre tread temperature.
The solution: let the driver choose from three configurable modes that prioritize information for daily commuting, weekend canyon carving and track events. The most important information – speed, fuel level, and engine coolant temperature – is permanently displayed, of course, but the 8-inch LCD panel liquid-crystal display screen in the meter cluster is organized into sport, tour and track themes that change with the Driver Mode Selector.
“The new Corvette Stingray features many advanced technologies, so our challenge when designing the driver’s displays was to ensure that those technologies could be easily found in common driving scenarios,” said Jason Stewart, General Motors interaction designer.
“The touring theme places more emphasis on multimedia and infotainment; the sport theme emphasizes performance features with a prominent shift indicator and a large radial tachometer; track theme offers a race-inspired layout containing a sweeping tachometer, Corvette racing inspired shift lights and permanent lap-time displays,” he said. “Each of these three themes can also be configured so that drivers can personalize their experience in the Stingray.”
On the track theme, the driver will be shown a friction-bubble/cornering force display. This indicates lateral and longitudinal g-forces which tell how close the driving has reached to the Stingray’s high cornering limits.
Besides halo lighting on the rim of the tachometer which changes colour as the revs rise, there are also shift lights, influenced by the C6.R, which illuminate from the outside-in. The lights transition from green to yellow to blue and flash at the redline so the driver can instantly know when to shift up when doing a drag or pushing the car hard.
The new Corvette Stingray will go on sale in the USA from October this year with prices starting from US$52,745 (about RM172,000). Its 6.2-litre all-aluminium V8 produces up to 460 bhp/630 Nm which goes through a 7-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels.
To know more about Chevrolet models available in Malaysia and to have a test-drive, contact the Naza Wheels Chevrolet Centre (03-7726 7793)