Porsche AG-a Germany based automobile manufacturer specialized in high-performance sedans, SUVs and sports cars-recently introduced a button-free dashboard for its maiden electric car, Taycan. The dash, which is largely in sync with the company’s flagship 911 sports car, has been redesigned for the 21st century. The absence of buttons on the dashboard lends a fresh look to the vehicle interior and means that vehicle controls and settings can be accessed digitally. The company’s decision to swap hardware controls with digital ones would enable the automaker to introduce over-the-air updates for adding more functions.
Some of the notable features introduced in this electric vehicle include a customizable digital instrument cluster, display modes (classic mode, map mode, full map mode, and the pure mode), multiple screens, various interior color combinations with leather-free options, and apple music integration. Most of the features are driver-centric and easily visible to the driver without any distraction. Also, the user-interface is highly intuitive and intelligent with voice control function or touch operations.
Prateek Jain – Senior Research Analyst: Automotive & Transportation Research at MarketsandMarkets™™, shares his point of view as mentioned below:
According to MarketsandMarkets™, the introduction of vehicle digitization has the potential to transform user experience. The rapid advancements in technology have not only helped the automotive industry meet the shifting customer demand but also become future ready. The focus of industry stakeholders has shifted from basic features such as fuel efficiency, performance, and stability of the vehicle to advanced features such as smart mobility, connected car, and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication. Traditional cockpit features have been replaced with advanced, reconfigurable, and customizable features to improve user experience. For instance, the traditional analog instrument cluster has been replaced with a digital instrument cluster. The head unit, also known as infotainment panel, has turned into a touchscreen unit of varied sizes and display types. The vehicle’s digital cockpit can also monitor the driver’s driving pattern with a dedicated driver monitoring camera. However, till date, digitization is largely confined to premium segment ICE vehicles. Nevertheless, the increasing demand and sales of electric vehicles are expected to escalate the demand for digital control in the near future.
FIGURE 1 AUTOMOTIVE DIGITAL COCKPIT MARKET GROWTH, BY COUNTRY (2019–2025)
Factors Impacting Introduction of Digital Controls
The new generation vehicles have evolved from simple transportation mediums to advanced connectivity platforms. The connected car technology offers multiple benefits including, but not limited to, safe driving, avoiding accidents, lowering CO2 and NOx emissions, benefiting from insurance telematics with lower premiums, and enjoying connected lifestyle services such as on-demand entertainment and infotainment. The increasing demand for connected cars has created new revenue opportunities for non-automotive players as well. Also, the electronic content in new generation vehicles is likely to cross more than 60% in the near future. However, the adoption of electronic components largely depends on the OEM’s organizational agility.
Autonomous cars have become a decisive focal point for automotive stakeholders. Some of the leading automakers have invested billions of dollars and put their best resources for making autonomous cars a reality. Currently, a vehicle is equipped with a number of electronic components to sense the environment around it and exchange signals with outside entities. These sensors not only sense the external environment but also map driving patterns and monitor the drive with the help of an in-dash camera in modern vehicles. The entire process of communication with external entities generates a huge amount of data that helps to implement machine learning with algorithms in the computer system of the vehicle. Hence, a reliable automotive digital cockpit is vital for implementing AI and developing semi-autonomous and autonomous cars.
However, the complexity and limited penetration of digital system can hamper the adoption of in-vehicle applications. Additionally, the BYOD (bring your own device) technology enables passengers to connect their own devices such as i-pads, tablets, and laptops with the in-vehicle infotainment system. This enables mirroring gadget screen on infotainment display with ease of access. The rising trend of BYOD in emerging economies such as India, China, and Brazil can hamper the demand for automotive digital cockpit.
In the long run, the replacement of physical controls with a digital touchscreen is likely to positively impact the next generation vehicle. The automotive industry has shifted focus toward developing innovative technologies to enhance vehicle safety, improve in-vehicle experience, and deliver better connectivity solutions. With growing demand for connected vehicles, the in-vehicle infotainment system technology would give way to embedded connectivity with networking devices in-built in the vehicle. This, in turn, would boost the growth of smart antennas and domain controllers. The advent of autonomous vehicles and increased demand for these vehicles in ridesharing would enhance the demand for embedded in-vehicle infotainment system. Finally, the need for an intelligent and intuitive interface would further boost the demand for a digital cockpit in the coming years.
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