CGI Studio – Our Tip for Automotive HMI Design

Digital instrument clusters, head-up displays, infotainment systems (IVI), rear seat entertainment – these are only a few HMI innovations that are demanded in an ever-converging automotive industry. We would like to present a HMI solution that covers all the specified innovations – CGI Studio. The scalable and hardware independent software platform is developed by Socionext Embedded Software Austria GmbH, a leading Austrian HMI tool provider and development partner for automotive and industrial customers worldwide.

CGI Studio is a Software platform for development of 2D/3D automotive HMIs

CGI Studio

CGI Studio is Socionext’s 2D/3D software development solution for creating automotive Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI’s). The end-product is a solution that meets essential automotive requirements such as fast boot up time, small memory footprint and compliance to ever more stringent automotive standards and safety regulations. The special USP of CGI Studio lies in the representation of 2D / 3D display elements but it also includes features such as multilingualism, particularly sophisticated safety functions (functional safety) and a reliable and worldwide customer service. Many automotive manufacturers and suppliers worldwide already rely on this software tool. At the moment there are more than 50 million cars with CGI Studio on the road.

About SESA

Socionext Embedded Software Austria (SESA) was founded in 2000 in Linz and is a subsidiary of Socionext Inc., based in Shin-Yokohama, Japan. Despite being part of the Socionext Group SESA operates in a self-sufficient manner providing a product range developed entirely at the location in Linz, Austria. SESA supports its customers with the CGI Studio tool environment as well as provision of software services mainly in the areas of HMI development and embedded software.
For more information, visit

Socionext is one of the speaking companies at the Car HMI Digital Days, the first digital event on automotive HMI & UX. The digital event will take place on May 15-17 and feature numerous presentations and webinars from industry players and hidden champions. Registration is free so be sure to join us in May to witness cutting-edge insights from industry leaders!

Elektrobit Webinar: Customer Feedback & Engagement Through the Connected Car

The benefits of the connected car are many and varied. For consumers, it offers enhanced opportunities for infotainment, communication, productivity, route guidance and convenience. For well-organised service providers, it can be a promising revenue stream and a major data source for customer satisfaction insights.

But how to collect customer insights in a way that is convenient for both you and your customers?

Elektrobit developed an automated service providing real-time feedback from spoken input by the driver. Watch the webinar session with EB Senior Software Engineer Ajay Rammohan and experience how the connected car can become a direct feedback channel between consumers and vehicle manufacturers – from customer input via speech to visualized feedback in your CRM.

Report CES 2018: Automotive HMI Focus

This report covers the CES 2018. Focus of this report is on the automotive HMIs shown at the show. The information was collected by visiting the booths in the North Hall of the event location and booths in the other halls and location, that are automotive related. Besides analyzing the exhibits, discussions with booth personnel where held where possible und useful. This report reflects my personal and professional opinion on the technologies discussed. Please let me know your thoughts!

General Trends

The CES 2018 was located at Las Vegas, NV and opened the doors from January 8 to 12, 2018. It was, of course, the biggest ever. More than 4,000 exhibitors shared 26 million square feet exhibition space. 180,000 visitors, 58,000 from outside the USA, attended the show. This year’s show was the 50th. The massive attendance led to extended waiting times, the badge pickup was an exercise that took at least 30min. Restrooms, food stalls, and shuttle busses where occupied by long lines. The CES became too big to fail, but it also too big to be fun.

Automotive Trends

Until about 10 years ago the automotive part of the CES was out of the major focus. The North Hall, traditionally the location for automotive related booths, was occupied by aftermarket companies, selling massive amplifiers, speakers, and cables. Companies like Pioneer and Kenwood with a strong portfolio of aftermarket devices and OEM supply where present as well.
With the growing integration of electronics into vehicles and vehicles into networks, the character of the North Hall changed radically. Major OEMs like Mercedes, Hyundai, or Toyota and large suppliers like Continental, Delphi, or Denso displayed their technologies. In 2017 the suppliers had the most exciting and innovative booths, the OEMs kept a little lower profile. This year the major trends were:

Automotive innovations where also shown in Central Hall (Bosch, Sony) and in tents on the Central Plaza (Faurecia, NXP, Valeo, Here)
The aftermarket companies are back
The OEMs had more exciting innovations than the suppliers

Automotive HMI Trends

CASE: Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric

The CASE mantra as used by Mercedes, BMW calls it ACES, is supposed to reflect the major trends of the automotive industry. It stands for:

Connected: cars are connected with the internet, the cloud, the infrastructure, other cars and the users
Autonomous: vehicle automate more and more functionality. This basically happens since cars are developed and produced. Hardly anyone today knows how to fine tune an ignition or moves a windscreen wiper by hand. Automatic gearboxes, rain sensors, and automatic headlights are innovations of the past. The new step is the automation of the core driving activity. Lateral and longitudinal control of the vehicle is taken over by machines. This trend will influence the entire automotive industry, technology development, use cases, insurance policies, legislation and many more
Shared & Services: vehicle ownership will fade in the future. A few users will own their individual cars, but the majority will share vehicle and experience mobility as a service
Electric: the end of the combustion engine will come sooner or later. Burning fossil fuel for mobility has its limits. How soon we will reach these limits, first of all availability of fuel and CO2 emissions is unclear. But electric engines will play a prominent role in future vehicle concepts. Today’s electric vehicles do not reflect the full potential the alternative power train offers. We are where we were 120 years ago, when we removed horses from carriages and replaced them by engine. The overall vehicle design remained the same. Today we replace combustion engines by electric ones, but keep the vehicle concept as it is

One or more aspects of the CASE mantra was reflected on every automotive booth. From sensor companies like Valens to service providers like Elektro Bit, suppliers like Denso to OEMs like Mercedes this mantra steers thinking and acting in the automotive industry.

Displays Everywhere

Almost every showcase, seat box, and prototype car at the show included a high number of displays. Trend is a large display extended over the entire dash board, often combined with additional displays in the center stack or head up displays. The big open question remains: how do we use all this HMI real estate we create in cars? Is this a way to create real value for users? Or are we just packing all the technology into vehicle because it is available? Future will tell us. And beyond HMI///// will be a part of the answer.

Illuminated Surfaces

Illuminated surfaces where shown in a few concepts. First of all, this is a decorative element, creating atmospheres and environments for drivers. Ambient light is a trend in automotive interiors, illuminated surfaces are the next step.

These technologies shall be used as HMI components as well. They can transfer subtle information, small changes, reaching unconscious parts of our cognition and decision making. An additional way of information transfer will be activated. Blind spot warnings will be a core use case, extending the visual range of the driver.

Windows as Screens

Using window areas as screen will allow new ways of communication between car, driver and environment. From advertisements, delivery services to emergency warning use cases are possible. In the interior the use of windows to allow augmented reality, meaning the overlay of the real world with additional information or entertainment scenarios in high levels of autonomous driving are definitely use cases.

Personal Highlights

As every year Rinspeed showed a highly innovative, exciting concept. This year the SNAP was presented. The vehicle has two separate parts. The so-called skateboard is the lower part of the car. It contains the electric drive train and the driving related electronics. This part of the vehicle is supposed to be shared. The skateboards will drive around in streets autonomously, charge themselves when needed, and may be called by a smart phone app or a PC software.
The so-called PODs are the upper parts of the vehicles. They are personally owned, meaning, I have my pod, it is equipped with my favorite entertainment electronics, communication channels, my preferred leather seats, my artificial intelligence robot and so on. An HMI on demand was integrated. The interaction between user and vehicle is adapted to various use cases.
After a skateboard arriving at my premises the Pod is connected to the skateboard. The two build a complete, autonomous vehicle, carrying me to my destination. Arriving there the Pod is disconnected and used by another user to move his or her Pod.
This concept combines personal ownership of the components that I see and touch in a vehicle, with shared drive trains. The skateboards contain the components that out date quickly. Since they are shared and drive almost constantly, their life time will be limited to a few years. The Pods will have a lifetime of 10 or years, so the personalized part of the vehicles remains in the users’ ownership for much longer.
As all the concepts of Rinspeed: highly innovative. Completely out of the box. Exciting.

MBUX by Mercedes

The MBUX by Mercedes was explicitly not shown as a show case or a future concept, but as the HMI solution for the upcoming A-Class vehicle. The trend towards large display was reflected as well as a multi modal interaction. The concept includes the cluster instrument and an infotainment display attached. The impression of one large display is created. The HMI concept is fully integrated. Display content can be adapted and moved on the HMI real estate. Content and design of the cluster can be adapted to different use cases. The graphic design uses one common design language. The user may select his or her preferred version from a number of different design schemes.

Interactions are possible using steering wheel devices, a touch pad mounted between the front seats and a touch screen for the infotainment area. The steering wheel devices contain a few hard keys and two small touch devices on either side of the steering wheel. Voice interaction should be possible as well, but was not show cased, probably due to the background noise in the exhibition hall.
The concept picks up existing HMI trends and puts them into an innovative product. The fact, that this will be on roads is exciting on side but frightening on the other. Mercedes will have done many user studies and analysis, but I personally doubt, that the complexity of the interface will be fully understood by all users. The questions where and how can I control what will be permanently open while driving. Probably driver will select one way of interaction, ignoring the others to feel comfortable with the functionality.
But: a big step forward, showing the chances of HMI technologies smartly integrated.

Brain to Car Interface by Nissan

Nissan showcased a brain to car interface. The idea of controlling a technology by using brain waves exists since a few years. Up to now only a few laboratory prototypes have been developed. Technological hurdles like the measurements and interpretation of data, where too big to turn this HMI technology into reality. Nissan claims to pass these hurdles. They showed a seat box with a helmet measuring brain waves. These are used to predict driver intentions and support decision making.
Due to technical problems of the seat box it was not possible to see a demonstration. If it shall work the way promised, it may be disruptive in the HMI development, not only in vehicles!

The Byton: is that the Way into Future?

The Byton show car was discussed heavily before the show and the booth was occupied almost anytime with a large crowd. At first and from the out side this car seems to be just one more mid-size SUV with an electric drive train. The design is average, nicely done but far from exciting, outstanding, or unusual.
The interior is dominated by a huge screen covering the entire dashboard. This reflects the trends of this show, was presented by Rinspeed already in 2017, but here it is moved one step closer to reality. In contrast to this the poorly mounted screens for the rear seat entertainment indicate the front row focus of the car. Byton made one more step towards the integration of the consumer world into the vehicle. A certain focus is on the health status of the driver, connectivity to the smart home, and communication with external instances.
Open questions remain on the use of the large display in the vehicle. Is that really the way into future? What will it be used for? Plus, that we have seen many companies like Faraday Future, Mindset or Coda Automotive, that announced innovative vehicles, but failed to deliver. Let’s keep an eye on this!


The CES is the number one show on electronics, communication, consumer devices, no doubt. The automotive part grows in importance, future trends beyond horsepower and torque become visible here. The world will be connected in the future, and the car will play a core role in this network. You will see me there in 2019. And I until then will learn to life with long waiting lines everywhere!

About Peter Rössger and beyond HMI/////:

HMI Guru. HMI Expert. HMI Punk. Speaker. Author. Visionary. Innovator. Inspirator. Creator. Peter Rössger is founder of beyond HMI/////. We focus on creating knowledge on HMIs, usability and user experience for the automotive industry, the Industrial Internet, mobile machinery, and software applications. We perform studies on usability and user experience. We use our knowledge to develop HMI concepts for our customers.
Until early 2015 Peter was Business Development Director at TES Electronic Solutions GmbH. During his 12 years with Harman Automotive he created HMI concepts for automotive OEMs like Mercedes, Porsche, Toyota, Hyundai, PSA, Ferrari, and Harley Davidson. For Daimler he worked 4 years in driver-vehicle interaction. Peter holds a doctorial degree in Human Factors Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin. He published various papers on usability, user experience, cross cultural HMIs, and autonomous driving. He lives at Böblingen near Stuttgart, Berlin, and at Port d’Andratx, Mallorca.

Webinar: Dedicated OPTIS solution for Automotive HUD development

By delivering qualitative information directly into the driver’s line of sight in real time, Head Up Displays (HUDs) will take comfort, safety and automotive experience to a new level. HUD is stated by Forbes as one of the top 3 advanced car technologies by 2020. With the upcoming arrival of Augmented Reality, the significant growth of HUD implementation reveals new challenges in terms of development productivity and collaboration between automakers and the supply chain.
OPTIS SPEOS HUD 2017 is a consistent solution bringing cutting edge features specifically dedicated to HUD development in automotive; embedding optical/vision knowledge and seamless integration in the CAD/PLM environment.
Watch the webinar and discover how to design and experience HUD and especially AR-HUD in virtual environments. Learn to provide the best comfort and safety capabilities right from the start and deliver your innovations sooner to the market.

Webinar hosts:

Cedric BellangerCedric Bellanger

Product Marketing Manager

Ludovic ManillierLudovic Manillier

Business Development – Augmented Reality / HUD

Live Stream from the Car HMi 2017

The Car HMi Europe live-stream has ended. You can now watch the recorded sessions in the video. If you would like to know more about the event please find more information here:


HMI Trust Interactions | Intel Corporation, Matt Yurdana, Creative Director
Smart Automotive User Experience: Intelligent Personal Assistants on the Rise | Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, Dr. Andreas Blattner, Engineer HMI Functions & Pre-Development & Dr. Benjamin Poppinga, Research and Development Engineer
From Assisted to Autonomous Driving: An HMI Perspective – HMI is becoming the center of the consumer experience in non-autonomous and autonomous driving* | Luxoft, Olaf Preissner, Head of UX Automotive

Webinar: Dedicated OPTIS solution for Automotive HUD development

By delivering qualitative information directly into the driver’s line of sight in real time, Head Up Displays (HUDs) will take comfort, safety and automotive experience to a new level. HUD is stated by Forbes as one of the top 3 advanced car technologies by 2020. With the upcoming arrival of Augmented Reality, the significant growth of HUD implementation reveals new challenges in terms of development productivity and collaboration between automakers and the supply chain.
OPTIS SPEOS HUD 2017 is a consistent solution bringing cutting edge features specifically dedicated to HUD development in automotive; embedding optical/vision knowledge and seamless integration in the CAD/PLM environment.
Join the webinar session and discover how to imagine, design and experience HUD and especially AR-HUD in virtual environments. Provide the best comfort and safety capabilities right from the start and deliver your innovations sooner to the market – it’s free!

Webinar hosts:

Cédric Bellanger
Marketing Communication
Ludovic Manillier
Solution Manager – HUD and Augmented Reality

Roland Berger Study: Automotive Disruption Radar

Consulting agency Roland Berger has been constantly publishing studies on autonomous driving and related topics. Now they created the so called Automotive Disruption Radar, Now they created the Automotive Disruption Radar, which is basically a nations ranking regarding future mobility readiness released regularly.

Indicators, criteria and roots of change

Similarly as in past studies Roland Berger created a nations ranking based on different evaluation criteria that are sequenced. The result is the Automotive Disruption Radar.
The study captures the radical change in the automotive industry taking place after 130 years of linear development. These changes are also reflected in the car manufacturers’ behavior as they undergo a transformation from the traditional manufacturer to a mobility supplier. Their reasons are simple: You can earn much more money on the after-sales market than with vehicle production. Car Connectivity promises numerous sources of income, be it music, navigation or overlays financed through advertising. Established brands have to act quick as new non-OEM competitors are entering this profitable market.
In order to analyze the mentioned change the Berger research focuses on “MADE” – which stands for Mobility types, Autonomous driving, Digitized culture, Electric vehicles. This classification yielded 25 different indicators responsible for disrupting the automotive industry. Factors like customer interest, legal regulations, technology & infrastructure development and industry activity were taken into account with regard to ten different countries.

Nations ranking

The total ranking is led by the Netherlands whose trump cards are e-mobility and investments for autonomous driving. The second place goes to Singapore followed by China. The main reason for their good position is their willingness to invest in mobility. Places 4 to 10 are given away as follows: Germany, Great Britain, France, India, South Korea, USA and Japan.
If you filter the results by customer interest in autonomous cars, the table is topped by France, Japan and the Netherlands. However the researchers see Germany, Great Britain, India and the US catching up here. In China the topic seems to play no role at all. The Netherlands lead again in terms of legal regulations followed by Singapore, USA and Great Britain. The Dutch seem to be well prepared for future mobility although they only got a mediocre ranking for their 5G LTE infrastructure. Latter is best developed by Germany, Singapore and France. The sector ride- and car-sharing is once more dominated by the Netherlands, pursued by China, Germany, France, UK and USA.
Read the full study results here:

About the author:

David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site:

Car HMI USA 2017: How will Consumers fall in Love with Driverless Cars?

Originally published on 2025AD – The Platform for Automated Driving
The challenge is clear: in an automated vehicle, human and machine must form a relationship. But just how? 2025AD attended the expert conference Car HMI USA 2017 in Detroit – and found surprising and unconventional answers.
In a way, Detroit is a very symbolic place to host a conference on the future of driving. In the heydays of the American car industry in the mid-20th century, the city was prospering. Ever since then, a long and slow decline of the industry accompanied a long and slow decay of Motor City. But since the end of the financial crisis, the U.S. “Big Three” – Ford, GM and Chrysler, have bounced back. And so has Detroit. Walking through the city these days, you can sense an optimistic mood. Public parks are being refurbished, urban areas are getting a long needed renovation. And while the city still lacks a functional public transportation system, people are happily hailing their Uber cab to get from one bar to the next. Or to Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.
Not only is Dearborn home of Ford’s worldwide headquarters. Last week, it was also home to Car HMI USA 2017 – an expert conference on user experience in the vehicles of the future. With cars becoming increasingly connected and automated, how will humans and machines interact? And how can a safe and comfortable driving experience be achieved? Those were the central questions high-ranking industry experts from OEMs, suppliers and science discussed.

Creating a Human Robot Relationship

One common theme dominated the agenda as well as the discussions during coffee breaks: trust comes first. Only if that is given, users will feel comfortable in an automated vehicle. Or as Cyriel Diels, a human factors researcher at Coventry University, put it: „Car and user must form a relationship – we need to evolve from Human Machine Interaction (HMI) to Human Robot Relationship (HRR).”
That is especially true since car drivers today obviously feel overwhelmed by the complexity of current HMI technology. To drive home his message, Ford manager James Forbes presented the evolution of Ford’s explorer vehicle between 1998 and 2017: the number of steering wheel buttons more than quadrupled to 22.

Evolution of the Ford Explorer: complexity is on the rise. (Photo: James Forbes / Ford)

Do customers really understand them? The answer is probably no. “98% of drivers don’t understand all dashboard lamps,” said Ketan Dande, Senior Diagnostic Software Engineer at Faraday Future. No wonder: U.S. car buyers on average spend only a couple of minutes talking to the vehicle dealer before the purchase – certainly not enough time to explain all HMI features. And since it is not likely drivers will thoroughly study the manual before using the car, one conclusion must be: the HMI has to be intuitive and easy to use – especially in critical situations.

Level 3 Automation: The Nightmare of all Carmakers

One critical use case heavily discussed at the event: the transition process between manual and machine driving in semi-automated cars. Level 2 automation can already be found on our roads today, for instance in Tesla’s Model S. It has already proven itself to be very tricky. While the car is able to take over all driving tasks for defined use cases, the driver must constantly monitor the road – which many users not seem to take serious. Cars with level 3 automation are also able to perform all driving tasks in certain situations, for example in smooth traffic on the highway. However, the driver doesn’t need to monitor the road at all times anymore, just needs to be ready to resume control. If the car gets into a situation beyond its capabilities, it must notify the driver so he can take over.

Car HMI USA 2017 took place in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.
Car HMI USA 2017 took place in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.

How can you keep the driver in the loop? You could feel an almost tangible aura of uncertainty at the conference on how to solve this task. What makes it so challenging? The looming danger is mode confusion – a problem known from aviation. The driver must receive clear and comprehensible information who is in charge of driving at all times. A recent study showed that it took drivers in transfer conditions four to six, sometimes up to 16 seconds to anticipate a latent hazard.
Joe Klesing, Executive Director Autonomous Steering & Comfort at supplier Nexteer, suggests a threefold approach. First, using in-vehicle cameras for gaze and head tracking to determine if the driver is ready to take over. If he fell asleep or has turned around to feed the kids, he clearly needs an urgent auditory appeal. If his eyes are focused on the road anyway, a less pressing sound could be sufficient.
Second, a head-up display directing attention towards the potential hazard. This makes it transparent for the driver why he needs to take over. And third, a steering wheel retracting while in autonomous mode. If the driver wants to resume control, he must actively pull the steering wheel so it moves back towards the driver. With this haptic cue, mode confusion can be avoided.

Distracted Driving - a modern Curse

In that context, another problem that needs to be tackled is distracted driving. According to NHTSA data, almost 3,500 Americans were killed in 2015 by distracted driving – and the number further rose in 2016. Distractor number one: the smartphone. Risk group number one: teenagers and young adults. That is why all OEMs and suppliers are looking for ways to reduce that hazard source.

What non-driving tasks consumers admit to doing while driving (Photo: Harris Insights & Analytics).

Interestingly, it seemed a foregone conclusion among conference speakers that teenagers will not be willing to give up their phone while driving. According to Carl D. Marci, Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen, digital natives on average switch devices 27 times in one hour, for instance between the television and their smartphone. “People have developed new habits in the living room that they won’t drop in the car,” Marci stated. The consequence: tests have shown that in surprising takeover situations, it takes people longer to react if they were using their smartphone at that moment. A solution supplier Valeo suggests: smartphone screen mirroring integrated into the instrument cluster and operable through the steering wheel. With the screen in a higher viewing field and the hands free, this accelerates the driver’s reaction.

Will we skip Level 3 entirely?

While all these suggestions might facilitate the handover process, level 3 automation is still considered a tough nut to crack. Too tough? Most industry insiders at Car HMI USA got a rather stern look when asked about this issue. Who will be liable if a level 3 vehicle causes an accident? Driver or OEM? “The first major accident in the U.S. is going to be a big game changer,” said a senior engineer of a large OEM during a workshop, indicating that courts might have to find an answer to that question. To make matters even more difficult, international traffic authorities are expected to push for common standards for level 3 takeover processes. A consumer from Europe should intuitively be able to use a level 3 car in Asia or America and vice versa. A solution that is being seriously discussed: skipping level 3 entirely – a step that Google . “Until fully autonomous cars are deployed, we might have level 2 in urban areas and level 4 on highways,” said Oliver Rumpf-Steppat, Head of Product Requirements, Development & Connected Drive at BMW North America. Volvo and Ford have already announced they will skip level 3, with other OEMs expected to follow suit.

Automated driving will offer new possibilities for car interior design (Photo: Cyriel Diels / Coventry University).

Once we reach level 5, new challenges of designing a car will arise. Warren Schramm, technical director and design consultancy Teague, questioned a 120 year old basic assumption of the car industry: that cars are built for the driver. “We will have to ask ourselves: what do we build for, if not driving?” Once steering wheel, the separation of seats and a middle console become obsolete and electric drivetrains are standard, much more space will be available – as recently demonstrated by Volkswagen’s Sedric concept vehicle.

Bold Business Ideas for Driverless Car Services

“The cabin needs to be completely reconfigurable. Flexibility is paramount,” said Schramm. He predicted that virtually any mobility service will be possible with purpose built vehicles. “Go to sleep, wake up in Vegas,” he called his idea for a rolling hotel room. “Or what if you could hail your shopping experience – a driving boutique.” Hairdresser or dentist appointments, teleconferences – there are countless possibilities to make use of the time gained during the ride. Schramm presented his most unconventional idea with a mischievous smile: “What if TSA picked you up?” The idea: Why not use the ride to the airport to get the security check done in the car? This self-driving shuttle would be equipped with security staff, passport and body scanners. This may sound a little outlandish at first. However, knowing how time-consuming these security checks are, it is not hard to imagine finding customers for this business idea.

Factors that add to a comfort experience in automated cars (Photo: Cyriel Diels / Coventry University).

For that to happen, one very human problem will need to be overcome in an autonomous car: motion sickness. If people don’t steer themselves anymore, it becomes harder for them to anticipate where they are actually going. Adding to that are tasks like reading in the smartphone and alternative seating arrangements in the car. Schramm suggested implementing frosted glasses: “If people are less aware of the motion, sickness can be greatly reduced.”
For the moment, this admittedly seems like a distant problem. After two lively days, the conference ended with a spirit of optimism. “The key user experiences are the moments you fall in love with your car,” Ford Manager James Forbes had said. The challenges may not be small, but the knowledge is there to create HMIs that people will embrace. Good prospects for the automotive industry. And therefore, good prospects for Detroit – the Motor City.
Skipping level 3 automation? TSA picking you up? What do you think of the expert ideas presented at Car HMI USA 2017? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Sensors and Electronics for the Cockpit of the Future

The automotive industry is currently undergoing transformational changes with the emergence of electric and autonomous vehicles. Inside the vehicle, the connected car concept, enhanced driver comfort, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are demanding increasingly complex cockpit sensors and electronics. This market is expected to grow by double digits annually over the next few years, from $31.1B worldwide in 2013 to an expected $61.5B by the end of 2020¹. Major drivers include increased awareness and demand for more advanced technology by consumers, digitalization (i.e. conversion from analog to digital technology) of the vehicle, and increased consumer buying power.
Features previously only available in luxury vehicles such as smart seating, is now increasingly entering the mid-segment cars. Infotainment systems are becoming much more than an extension of the ubiquitous smartphone, and assuming the role as the “brains” of the vehicle. The humble beginnings of interior vehicle electronics to enhance driving conditions and provide comfort inside the cockpit, has expanded into four main segments — safety, comfort, user interface, and health and wellness. Among the many players in the cockpit electronics space are Robert Bosch, Alpine Electronics, Visteon Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Continental, Denso Corporation, Harman International Industries, Delphi Automotive, Johnson Controls, Nippon Seiki, Valeo, and others. The largest automotive sensor suppliers are in 2015 were Robert Bosch, Sensata, and NXP/Freescale.
Technology advancements and lower cost sensors are driving emerging applications such as safety and security in the cabin, which accounted for 24% of the overall automotive sensor revenue in 2014². The traditional use of airbag and rollover sensors has expanded to occupancy detection, seat belt strain sensors, seat belt buckle sensors, side impact sensors, and side airbags. ADAS systems continue to penetrate into mass-market vehicles, and technologies such as driver attentiveness recognition is starting to emerge. By 2021, in-cockpit cameras that monitor the driver and passengers are expected to reach five million units³. ADAS is essentially a selection of technologies used to assist drivers in the driving process. Sensor and electronic systems are used to capture data from the environment to alert the driver about, for example, dangerous driving conditions or potential hazards. Technologies used for ADAS include sensors (e.g. radar, LIDAR, ultrasonic sensors, and cameras) that are used to provide lane departure warning, park assist, blind spot detection, distance warning, drowsiness monitoring, night vision, and adaptive cruise control.
Environmental sensors to measure temperature, relative humidity, air flow, and gas content (e.g. oxygen levels) for monitoring the internal climate in the cockpit, are increasingly being used to control advanced climate control systems and HVAC. Electronic car seats with personalized memory function have long been available in higher-end vehicles, but still 80% of car seats worldwide are manually operated. Technology advancements that enable lower-cost electronic seats are opening up new opportunities for the mid-market segment. Continental, for example, has developed a car seat platform that provides an extended range of functions, including the controls for seat adjustments, seat climate control, and massage/seat contour functionality.
Because of all of the added functionality and complexity in cockpit electronics, along with the ever-present smartphone, it is becoming increasingly important to prevent the driver from being distracted. Car companies have been integrating Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto to provide a safe extension of the smartphone to the car’s infotainment system, but with limited functionality. This allows drivers to keep their hands on the wheel while still operating smartphone functions system like playing music or making a phone call, but with restrictive access to, for example, text messages. 3D hand gesturing and voice activated controls are emerging as viable alternatives to manually operated knobs and switches to control navigation, audio, HVAC, and even smartphone and smartwatch functions. Basic heads-up displays (HUDs) appeared as early as in the 1980s to show the speedometer projected onto the windshield, while allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road. Newer versions incorporate turn-by-turn navigation, and will soon include blind spot detection, forward collision and lane departure warnings, and other features.
The use of wearable electronic devices for monitoring health and wellness of the driver has not gone unnoticed by the automotive industry. Multiple OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers are investing in automotive biosensor technologies for measuring heart rate, pulse rate, blood oxygen content, drowsiness, attention, anxiety, and other biometrics. Advanced seating solutions are incorporating sensors to measure vitals, such as heart rate, breathing patterns, stress, and energy levels. This physiological data can be combined with other inputs, such as eye movement and blinking, facial expressions, posture, head position, and even the driver’s grip on the steering wheel to detect and counteract, for example, drowsiness. As futuristic as this may sound, companies such as Faurecia are planning to launch smart seating solutions with physiological sensors in series production over the next few years.
The cockpit of the future appears to be closer than fully autonomous driving and some of the other transformational shifts currently rippling through the automotive industry. The main focus is on innovative solutions that enhance the driving experience, as well as sensors and electronics for the modern cockpit should provide a balance of comfort, safety, and entertainment. Many of the current consumer electronic trends are quickly adopted into the cockpit, and solutions that extend the use of smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets are bridging (and closing) the gap between consumer electronics and the modern car.

This article is a part of MEMS Journal’s ongoing market research project in the area of sensors and electronics for automotive applications. If you would like to receive our comprehensive market research report on this topic, please contact Dr. Mike Pinelis at for more information about rates and report contents.
Copyright 2017 MEMS Journal, Inc.


[1] “Global Market Study on Automotive Cockpit Electronics: Navigation and Infotainment Segment to Grow Significantly during 2014-2020”, Persistence Market Research, 2015,
[2] “Automotive Sensor Market Analysis By Product (Physical Property, Process Variable, Proximity & Positioning, Chemical Property), By Application (Engine & Drivetrain, Safety & Security, Emission Control, And Segment Forecast To 2022”, Grand Research View, June 2016
[3] “Smart In-Vehicle Cameras Increase Driver and Passenger Safety”, Embedded Vision, 2016

About the author:

Dr. Mikhail (“Mike”) Pinelis is the CEO and editor-in-chief of MEMS Journal, an independent publication based in Southfield, Michigan that he founded in 2003 and grew to the current 34,800+ subscribers worldwide. Along with MEMS Journal, Dr. Pinelis has also developed a management consulting practice focused on MEMS, sensors and microsystems.
Dr. Pinelis is an active participant in the MEMS and semiconductor market sectors and currently serves on advisory boards of leading industry associations such as the Micro Electronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council (MEPTEC) and Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation (MANCEF). He holds a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering with a focus in MEMS and microfluidics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Interview: EU's role in the evolution of ADAS

Prior to the Automotive Tech.AD Berlin, we.CONECT Market Research & Intelligence spoke with Martin Brockmann, EU Project Manager, about the company’s relation to the evolution of ADAS, the biggest hurdles with regards to vehicle automation and possible roles for the driver of the future.

we.CONECT: What is your company’s relation to the evolution of ADAS, vehicle automation and new mobility concepts?

Martin Brockmann: We are providing services for development of smart and integrated HMI concepts. We are supporting activities in the area of Human Factors research for Automated Driving solutions. We have tools and methods for testing and validating HMI concepts with real drivers. By now ADAS and Automation features are neither self-explaining nor easy to use. We advocate simplified controls and display strategies with the emphasis on a safe-to-use driver vehicle interaction concept.

What are the big hurdles towards autonomous driving that need to be surpassed by different stakeholders? How should they be resolved?

Big question. There is a long list of issues and potential solutions. Just mentioning a few in the area of Human-Vehicle-Interaction:

– Mode awareness: Clear communication of automation and vehicle states to driver and other traffic participants

– Role and task awareness: Design of transitions between automation and manual driving, e.g. over which channels (haptic, acoustic, visual) information shall be communicated in a warning cascade for a take-over request?

– Controllability: Driver or (and) automation are in (shared) control with safe interaction & decision strategies

– Is driver state monitoring necessary? Is it reliably detectable and which are affordable technologies?

Which specific challenges are currently lying ahead of your work with regards to vehicle automation?

In the next years automation might not be available to a full extent in all situations. We know for instance that driver’s expectations disregard the definition of automation levels (SEA). But what solutions can be offered to the driver, which generate a real benefit and are safe and affordable at the same time? What does the Automation allow the driver to do while being driven? How can we provide a unique user experience with a smart control- and display strategy ensuring clear distribution of tasks and roles for driver and automation? Exterior communication of cars is another exciting topic.

How will autonomous driving technology change mobility according to your expectations?

In the long run mobility will change entirely. New mobility concepts and business models are inevitable. Interesting are the transition periods of mixed traffic. Will manually driving drivers react differently to automated driving vehicles and e.g. trying to outperform them in daily traffic? Will the driverless vehicle also drive a lot without passengers and increase the traffic load through “unladen journeys”? Much more to discuss here.

Which role is the ‘driver’ going to play in the future with regards to driver-vehicle interaction?

If there is – besides destination entry and infotainment demands – any driver-vehicle interaction necessary: The role of the driver changes with the applied level of automation. More important is a clear role definition for the driver: Dos and don’ts, options to switch between automation modes, how to “influence” the automation by driver intervention, communication how the driver can regain control again and so on.

Which expectations do you have towards the event? What do you expect to gain from the exchange with participating experts and companies (e.g., OEMs, suppliers)?

I would love to exchange knowledge, discuss latest trends and insights, have in-depths discussions with other scientists, get to know each other and cultivate contact with one another. Not only with OEMs, and suppliers but also with research organisations, and authorities.

Thanks a lot for this interview! We are looking forward to a thriving event!