Hands off, eyes straight ahead

Hands off, eyes straight ahead

Current high-tech cars can not only navigate on the center console, but also handle e-mail and facebook and manage a song selection of several thousand tracks. Web apps and smartphone interface complete the distraction. We take a look at solutions to bring it all together with the "primary driving task" in an accident-free denominator.

Hanover, 26. July 2012 – the road traffic paradox: cars can theoretically drive faster than ever today, but in practice they drive slower and slower. Because while more and more cars are being built, fewer and fewer roads are being. Traffic jams are no longer the exception, but an everyday part of life.

In japan, car buyers therefore demand that the center console displays tv and dvds. In the land of perpetual congestion china, infotainment gimmicks dominate buyers’ wish lists – at walking speed, engine or chassis qualities are irrelevant. U.S. Customers now not only want to eat breakfast in their cars, but also start their office day while commuting. And even in germany, infotainment is evolving from being perceived as a nice garnish to an important purchase criterion.

Although there are plenty of traffic jams in germany as well, the speed spectrum, on the other hand, extends to the 415 km. Even at much lower speeds, drivers are at risk of crashing if they take their eyes off the road for too long.

Always in view

At the same time, not every display distracts the driver’s gaze. Head-up displays (huds) project information onto the windshield or a small screen above the dashboard, as in fighter jets. They thus make a significant contribution to active driving safety. With the hud, the driver’s gaze only spends 10 percent of the usual time looking from the road to the instrument cluster, according to eye-tracking studies. So it makes far more sense than adding displays to the speedometer unit.

General motors started with huds back in the late eighties, toyota and nissan followed in the nineties. The small projected speedometers were considered a nice gimmick for a long time – until bmw started superimposing all the important data in the front of the field of view in 2003, which turned the projectors from "nice" to "i need this!" demanded.

The bmw system, which can cost up to around 1300 euros depending on the vehicle model, displays speed, speed limits (from the navigation system and automatic sign recognition), the data from the proximity cruise control system including rear-end collision warnings, roadbook instructions from the route guidance system and data from the lane departure warning system in full color.

The terminator-like personal outline detection of the night vision system gives its warnings there and of course all important warnings like reaching the fuel reserve or error symbols also appear on the windshield. Which information is projected can be set. Once you’ve seen it, you won’t want to be without it: the repurchase rate of the hud with surcharge is almost 100 percent, according to bmw.

Almost exactly like bmw, the huds in the rough audis also work, minus one small, but depending on the driver, elementary feature: the bmw hud briefly folds out the track list for skipping music tracks and can do the same for the hands-free phone list.

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