If CES concept cars are any reliable indication, the automobile interior is going to have a load of digital screen space in the future. Whether we're talking about the array of large displays in fully autonomous concepts like the 2015 Mercedes F 015 or the touchscreen controls of the 2015 VW Golf R Touch, concept car designers are showing little restraint in packing the car cabin with digital displays. Bosch's all-new, all-flashy CES 2016 show car offers yet another take on digital screen overload, presenting the driver with a full-length digital dashboard that bleeds into the doors and center console.
Bosch's concept catches the eye from both inside and out. Though Bosch's press release makes no mention of it, its new design, which appears unnamed beyond "show car," is quite clearly an open version of the 2015 EDAG Light Cocoon (you can see EDAG's logo at the rear). That illuminated, trellis-framed body is sure to attract its fair share of foot traffic to Bosch's CES booth, even before people know what it is they're looking at.
What it is that you're looking at in the Bosch car has little to do with its sensational exterior architecture and everything to do with its digital interior. Bosch has created a fully digital dashboard, a display-based central console, and left and right side displays that seem perfect for the role of electronic side-view "mirrors."
Bosch's digital cockpit supports the automobile's evolving role from basic people mover to smart, connected copilot and personal assistant. The advanced display system provides relevant, real-time information about vehicle surroundings, navigation and more. Bosch explains that the car can use its displays to warn the driver of an approaching pedestrian while simultaneously processing information about the driver's upcoming appointments and routing thereto.
A big theme at this year's CES is the movement of the car beyond the road and driveway into other aspects of everyday life, including the home. Like Ford, Bosch sees plenty of potential in connecting smart car to smart home, and it imagines the driver performing tasks like in-home climate control, appliance operation and security system monitoring from within the digital cockpit. It also gives the example of the driver remotely accepting a home package delivery with the tap of an in-car touchscreen.
Whether or not cars of the future have entire dashboards and door panels built from digital displays, drivers will almost certainly benefit from new, improved touchscreens on the commute. Bosch has earned a CES 2016 Innovation Award for its own new, improved touchscreen design, which generates multiple haptic textures, allowing one to feel for the menus he or she is looking for. Bosch says the display looks like your average touchscreen, but in place of a smooth, uniform surface, rough, smooth and patterned areas denote different options like navigation and radio. The different textures help drivers find and change specific in-vehicle settings without pulling their eyes off the road.
Bosch is also showcasing a cloud-based wrong-way driver alert system that analyzes anonymized vehicle movement data to quickly identify vehicles driving against the direction of travel. The system is designed to alert both the driver in question and surrounding drivers within seconds. Bosch plans to launch this cloud-based software service later this year and says that it can be easily rolled into existing apps and infotainment systems.
So what do you think of Bosch's vision of the display-packed connected car as a personal assistant, home guardian and remote control?