Designing configurable automotive dashboards on liquid crystal displays


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.

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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.

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Correspondence to F Bellotti.

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Bellotti, F., De Gloria, A., Poggi, A. et al. Designing configurable automotive dashboards on liquid crystal displays. Cogn Tech Work 6, 247–265 (2004).

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