Consumer electronics go through yearly improvements with new releases of Phones, Tablets, and other displays for our eyeballs. Cars on the other hand are not something many people have the luxury to stay current with on a yearly basis. 2014 brought sleeker, quicker, and even more user-friendly automotive experiences. Espoo, Finland based Rightware is a medium sized company helping Audi make their cars have a little bit more of your phone in them.
Yesterday Audi announced all upcoming car models “starting from the new Q7 and A4” will feature the “Virtual Cockpit” developed by Rightware. The actual technology is a year old but only previously seen in the TT model. The term ‘virtual’ slightly flexes the marketing muscle, but there is no shortage of ‘cool’ in the 2014 TT’s dashboard. In terms of features you’re not going to be shocked to see a traditional speedometer/tachometer combo along with media, communication, cabin, and vehicle controls. The data enthusiast will be excited to get access to all the various details and specifications of your car and trip. One of the more interesting transitions is to a very chrome-less map display blending behind the now shrunken gauges.
Rightware has stated they’ve got more projects in progress with “major car manufacturers in Europe, USA and Asia.” Audi is not however the first contender in the space of digitalising your car dashboard. Tesla for one having that dominating 17” touchscreen in the centre console of their Model S has been a surprising appeal. Especially at some of the latest auto-shows we’ve seen some very unique ways of getting pixels in-front of the driver and passenger. The term user interface is now thrown around casually, it begins to feel far less of a foreign word. The way I see it this is only the first step. I’m sure there’s a lot of readers that will in some way experience more front seat experiences in the future where you don’t even have a steering wheel present. If or when those days come, the consumer is going to care a lot more about how they spend their time interacting with an object that for the most part no longer needs your input.
Until then, this collaboration for Rightware is fantastic seeing as it was previously unannounced to the public . Now that they will be seeing royalties from future manufactured vehicles, this is sure to galvanize their interests in bringing advanced technology and reliable control to the still human-driven vehicle.