Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 247–265 | Cite as

Designing configurable automotive dashboards on liquid crystal displays

  • F BellottiEmail author
  • A De Gloria
  • A Poggi
  • L Andreone
  • S Damiani
  • P Knoll
Original Article


The instrument cluster is an important element of the automotive passive safety system, since it shows to the driver the status of the car’s signals. This role becomes even more important as the number of advanced driving assistance systems (e.g., frontal collision warning, night vision support, parking aids, adaptive cruise control) increases. However, the larger number of warnings and signals conflicts with the limited display area available in vehicle. The ACTIVE project has developed software programmable dashboards on liquid crystal displays (LCDs), studying an efficient exploitation of the visual space of the instrument cluster. Such displays are flexible in terms of customization and of runtime configurability, allowing changes to number, layout, and appearance of visible instruments according to the actual driving conditions. Moreover, configurable dashboards can become an open communication channel able to integrate and harmonize, according primarily to safety considerations, any kind of visual information coming from present and future information systems (e.g., concerning safety and infotainment). This paper contributes to the study of this emerging research field through the description of the flow of design we followed in developing a real in-car system, and through the analysis of the potential impact on users of such a new flexible interface. In particular, we discuss results of lab and road tests conducted at Robert Bosch GmbH in Germany.


Digital automotive dashboards Human–machine interaction Road user tests Liquid crystal displays Car Multimedia systems Graphics design Runtime configurability 



The ACTIVE project was co-funded by the European Commission. We would like to acknowledge the work of all the partners of the project, including Mr. Beutnagel-Buchner and Meroth, of R. Bosch and Mr. Arnone, Cantelmi, Rosti and Torriani of ST Microelectronics.


  1. Bellotti F, De Gloria A, Risso M, Villamaina A (2001) AutoGraL: a Java 2D graphics library for configurable automotive dashboards. Comput Graph 25(2):259–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellotti F, De Gloria A, Villamaina A (2000) AutoGraL: Java API for configurable electronic dashboards. In: Mastorakis NE (ed) Signal processing, communications and computer science. World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society (WSEAS) Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergfeld Mills C, Weldon LJ (1987) Reading text from computer screens. ACM Comput Surv 19(4):329–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bodrogi P (2003) Chromaticity contrast in visual search on the multi-color user interface. Displays 24(1):39–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boff KR, Lincoln JE (1988) Engineering data compendium: human perception and performance. Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OhioGoogle Scholar
  6. Bretz EA (2000) Transportation. IEEE Spectrum 37(1):91–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Christ RE (1975) Review and analysis of color coding research for visual displays. Hum Factors 17(6):542–570Google Scholar
  8. CIE Publication No. 15.2 (1976) Recommendations on uniform color spaces, color-differences equations, psychometric color terms. Central Bureau of the CIE, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  9. Crozier R (1994) Manufactured pleasures: psychological responses to design. Manchester University Press, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. FHWA (2003) Federal highway administration, documentation on safety. Available online at:
  11. FMVSS (Federal motor vehicle safety standards) (2000) FMVSS 101—controls and displaysGoogle Scholar
  12. Foley JD, Van Dam A, Feiner SK, Hughes JF (1996) Computer graphics principles and practice. Addison-Wesley, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  13. Galitz WO (1997) The essential guide to user interface design: an introduction to GUI design principles and techniques. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Green P, Levison W, Paelke G, Serafin C (1995) Preliminary human factors guidelines for driver information systems. Technical report FHWA-RD-94-087Google Scholar
  15. Hearn D, Baker MP (1997) Computer graphics, 2nd edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  16. HMI: European Statement of Principles (1998)Google Scholar
  17. ISO 2575 (2000) Road vehicles—symbols for controls, indicators and tell-talesGoogle Scholar
  18. ISO 4513 (2000) Road vehicles—visibility—method for establishment of eyellipses for driver’s eye locationGoogle Scholar
  19. ISO 9241 Part 3 (1992) Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs): visual display requirementsGoogle Scholar
  20. ISO TC 22/SC 13/WG8 (2000) Road vehicles—ergonomic aspects of in-vehicle visual presentation for transport information and control systemsGoogle Scholar
  21. Jackson R, MacDonald L, Freeman K (1994) Computer generated color. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Jordan PW (1998) Human factors for pleasure in product use. Appl Ergon 29(1):25–33CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Kozaczynski W, Booch G (1998) Component-based software engineering. IEEE Software 155:34–36Google Scholar
  24. Leen G, Heffernan D (2000) Expanding automotive electronics systems. IEEE Comput 35(1):88–93Google Scholar
  25. Lim KH, Benbasat I, Todd PA (1996) An experimental investigation of the interactive effects of interface style, instructions, and task familiarity on user performance. ACM T Comput Hum Interact 3(1):1–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Meyer B (1999) On to components. Computer 32:139–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miller JM,Goel D, Kaminski D, Schoner H-P, Jahns TM (1998) Making the case for a next generation automotive electrical system. Ford Motor Co., Daimler-Benz AG2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Available on-line at:
  28. Mourant RR, Langolf GD (1976) Luminance specifications for automobile instrument panels. Hum Factors 18(1):71–84PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Naesaenen R, Karlsson J, Ojanpaeae H (2001) Display quality and the speed of visual letter search. Displays 22(4):107–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Naiman AC (1998) Jagged edges: when is filtering needed? ACM T Graphic 17(4):238–258Google Scholar
  31. Noro K (2002) Socio-technical aspects of display units. Displays 23:3–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peacock B, Karwowski W (1993) Automotive ergonomics. Taylor and Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Poynter D (1988) The effects of aging on perception of visual displays. SAE technical paper 881754. Society of automotive engineers, WarrendaleGoogle Scholar
  34. Roufs JAJ, Boschman MC (1997) Text quality metrics for visual display units: I. Methodological aspects. Displays 18:37–43Google Scholar
  35. Schenkman BN, Schmid R (2003) Appearance, clarity, acceptance and beauty of jagged letters on computer screens. Displays 24:15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith SL (1979) Letter size and legibility. Hum Factors 21:661–670Google Scholar
  37. Spalter AM (1999) The computer in the visual arts. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  38. Travis D (1991) Effective color displays: theory and practice. Academic Press, TufteGoogle Scholar
  39. Veryzer RW, Hutchinson JW (1998) The influence of unity and prototypicality on aesthetic response to new product designs. J Consum Res 24:374–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Verwey, WB (1996) Evaluating safety effects of in-vehicle information systems (IVIS). A field experiment with traffic congestion information systems (RDS-TMC) and preliminary guidelines for IVIS, TNO technical report TM-96-C068Google Scholar
  41. Ward DK, Fields HL (2000) A vision of the future of automotive electronics. In: SAE 2000 World Congress, Detroit, MichiganGoogle Scholar
  42. Widdel H, Post DL (eds) (1992) Color in electronic displays. Plenum Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • F Bellotti
    • 1
    Email author
  • A De Gloria
    • 1
  • A Poggi
    • 1
  • L Andreone
    • 2
  • S Damiani
    • 2
  • P Knoll
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Electronics and Biophysical EngineeringUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.FIAT Research CenterTurinItaly
  3. 3.Robert Bosch GmbHLeonbergGermany

Personalised recommendations