Today they’ve unveiled a piece of work called re-imagining the gauge cluster. This is a piece of work we were involved in at its conception. And it comes just a few months after UsTwo published a white paper and e-book about the future of in-car interfaces, which also had some input from us.
See the Video demo below:
The premise of this work is simple. Clearly, much is changing in the world of automotive HMI, and a few months back, during conversation between our respective teams, it turned out that both our team here at CDR and the guys at UsTwo were thinking in a similar way. UsTwo were looking to make something concrete, to show their ideas and thinking beyond the in-car HMI white paper.
Meanwhile, we were thinking about what we called internally a ‘Nest-like speedometer’. Our thinking was, with a full digital cluster display, isn't it time that we re-imagined the way information is displayed on them? Why are we still doing 3D-renderings of round gauges, we kept asking? If you draw together the fact that you have increasingly stylised clusters, showing a multitude of information and many other distractions and it can be hard to understand what speed you’re travelling. It's easy to speed in modern cars. Most of the information a cluster display is showing is completely irrelevant at a given moment on any drive. Why do you need to know water temperature unless – in context – it’s becoming too hot or cold?
Combine that with the fact that GPS and traffic sign recognition means most cars know the speed limits within which they’re driving on a given road – and you have the ability to re-think how your represent speed in the car.
Why not bring these factors together, and use colour or size to show how fast you’re going and if you are speeding or not?
It turns out, UsTwo were having pretty similar thoughts – and that’s where they’ve developed the new gauge cluster design from.
We don’t wish to claim credit for their work – the UsTwo team have worked on the code and visual design independently, they've gone much further and much deeper into the thinking behind this, too. But we are interested in debate around this topic – and would love to know what you think and see examples of people using the code to build on UsTwo’s first step.
Our work to date has focused on helping car companies to make more successful car designs through strategic research work. As things move forward, we think that increasingly means re-thinking the wider experience of car and big changes to the HMI. This project is just the first step in the very exciting future of this area. If you want to talk more about that, get in touch.