Published: 18 November 2016
Acura revealed its near-production interior styling and technology concept, the Acura Precision Cockpit, while highlighting three major themes in mobility innovation – electrification, automated driving and connectivity. Fusing an ergonomic design with a modern operating system and a touchpad-based interface that goes beyond traditional approaches, the Acura Precision Cockpit complements the exterior design direction revealed earlier this year in the Acura Precision Concept. Together, the Acura Precision Concept and Acura Precision Cockpit form the fundamental building blocks for Acura’s future vehicle design.
The Acura Precision Cockpit is designed for performance driving. It unlocks the benefits of connectivity and semi-automated driving technology, while enhancing the driving experience. For example, when automated systems are engaged, the digital meter in the driver’s display utilizes a real-time 3D engine to support a dynamic layout that displays other cars and road objects recognized by the vehicle’s advanced sensors, leveraging vehicle-to-vehicle communications to visually distinguish cars operating autonomously. An advanced vision mode leverages sensors to display cars, pedestrians, cyclists and other objects – even those obscured from vision – using artificial intelligence to predict future pathways. This mode builds human confidence in the car’s automated driving systems.
The Acura Precision Cockpit’s touchpad uses absolute position mapping for the first time in the driving environment, combining the flexibility and usability of a touchscreen with the comfort and reduced driver distraction of a remote-based approach.
With absolute positioning, the interaction with the touchpad aligns precisely with the actions on the main display. Every spot on the touchpad is mapped to a specific function on the main display, just like a touchscreen. Favorites are positioned along the bottom, and scrolling is positioned along the outer edges. A tap on the top left corner of the touchpad engages the content on the top left corner of the center display.
“Absolute positioning transforms the touchpad experience, making it personal, intuitive and particularly well-suited for premium, driver-centric, performance machines,” said Dave Marek, Acura’s executive creative director. “It’s also designed to be quickly and easily adopted, as drivers become acclimated and comfortable in minutes.”
The Acura Precision Cockpit also previews the Android-based, next-generation Acura OS that will power future production cars, providing secure access to mobile apps, data and content. With a clean user interface that clearly displays the information to the driver, the center display features two dedicated zones to help the driver quickly switch through settings including audio, weather and notifications. This allows the navigation app to always remain front and center. Bespoke animations and audio chimes were engineered to enhance the in-cabin experience.
The company announced that the AcuraWatchTM suite of active safety and driver-assistive technologies has now been deployed on more than 70,000 Acura vehicles. Next year, Acura will add Traffic Jam Assist to the suite in certain models, providing increased driver assistance and convenience in stop-and-go highway driving. Now offered as standard equipment on all 2017 MDX and 2017 RLX models, Acura also signaled its intent to eventually apply AcuraWatchTM as standard equipment on all core models.
A model of the second generation RLX development vehicle with automated driving systems was featured on the show floor. The automated RLX has been fitted with a suite of radar, Lidar, camera and GPS sensors, complemented by higher performance CPUs and GPUs, and improved cabling, heat management and circuitry. These enhancements have been combined with new, more intelligent software algorithms to support more complex testing scenarios.
The development vehicle is designed to achieve high reliability by fusing overlapping information together from various sensors. This concept, known as sensor fusion, allows test engineers to validate information from each signal with a higher degree of accuracy than can be obtained from any one of the sensors independently.
“Advances in electrification, automated vehicles and connectivity are fundamentally reshaping the future of mobility,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura. “Acura is determined to leverage this massive shift to deliver unique expressions of performance to our customers.”