Smart Cockpit: Pushing the Boundaries of EV Tech

The digital cockpit, transforming into the Third Living Space, is becoming more secure and comfortable. The intelligent cockpit is key to driving electric and automated vehicle market as there is increasing demand for advanced features in vehicles and the rising adoption of autonomous driving technology. We spot the latest technology developments and market trends.

A new study from Juniper Research1 has found that one in five vehicles in use will include an intelligent cockpit by 2025. The total number of vehicles with intelligent cockpits will reach 287 million by 2025, rising from 122 million in 2021 with a notable growth of 130% over the next five years. The research predicted that processing power for in-vehicle services will be moved to the cloud, which will increase the capabilities needed for intelligent driver systems. If the whole ecosystem is well established, stakeholders like automotive OEMs, retailers and payment service providers could monetize the cloud-based in-vehicle services via a subscription model.

Microsoft announced a solution based on Microsoft’s Smart Cloud and Smart Edge technologies for smart cockpit and autonomous driving at 2022 World New Energy Vehicle Congress (WNEVC) in late August this year.2 The cloud-car collaboration could enable efficient communication and information sharing among drivers, vehicles, and roads. Based on the intelligent cloud and high-performance computing platform, the solution aims to help developers import and analyze massive data, train, and simulate the data, and finally build AI models and feasibility verification.

In 2021, Samsung announced integration of the Samsung Health service that is included in its smartphones and TVs. Automotive Samsung Health analyzes passengers’ health status utilizing a combination of cameras and wearable and mobile devices installed in the vehicle, and regularly monitors passengers’ stress levels, sleeping patterns and the movement of their eyelids. It will adjust the vehicle’s lighting or music accordingly to help drivers relax, or alert drivers if they don’t remain awake.3 In 2022, its digital cockpit analyzes information on the surrounding area and connects to a range of services. When passengers want to grab a coffee, the vehicle utilizes map information and AR to inform them of the nearby cafés. The passenger is then given the option to navigate through the menu and place their order in their cars.4

Samsung showcases the future of in-vehicle experiences; Source: Samsung

With better human-computer interaction between the driver and car, the car can be more “cognitive and active.” The cars can analyze the driver’s conditions and habits, and then provide personalized infotainment experiences and actively interacting with drivers and passengers.

In the foreseeable future, the smart cockpit will become an important touch point for users to communicate with car manufacturers. Microsoft launched an intelligent voice dialogue solution to allow users to experience a more intelligent cockpit interaction experience, supporting multiple languages and customization.

Juniper Research predicted that, by 2025, over 45 million voice assistants will have access to basic forms of vehicle functionality, such as display and internal lighting control; rising from less than 1 million in 2021. Research co-author Julia Karant remarked ‘Automotive OEMs will slowly open up the vehicle to third parties. Enabling voice control for more complex in-vehicle functions will provide greater safety benefits and convenience for drivers.’

Smarter displays, better user experience

Instrument cluster, infotainment & telematics, and head-up display (HUD) are three major components when it comes to digital cockpit for the electric vehicles. DATAINTELO’s research5 shows that the global automotive digital cockpit market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.5% from 2022 to 2030. The report indicates that the instrument cluster segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period, owing to the increasing demand for advanced safety features in vehicles. The intelligent infotainment & telematics systems can provide more precise navigation and better user experience through optimized HMI designs. This segment is predicted to grow at a high rate as well.

The digital cockpit is getting smarter with higher computing power, more sensors, and better display technologies. Reducing complexity and unifying all devices into one control interface is a megatrend. All-digital display-based dashboards are gradually replacing analog clusters, making the entire cockpit digital and incorporated into a single Engine Control Unit (ECU). ABI Research forecasts that between 2020 and 2030, 461 million vehicles with head-unit and digital dashboard displays and 115 million vehicles with digital cockpit architecture will be shipped. For cockpit display, multi screens and large screens still prevail. Besides the screen size is getting bigger, incorporation of new AR technology is on the rise. For example, Ford Evos debuted with a 27-inch 4K touchscreen display; Cadillac Lyriq will be equipped a 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED display that curves toward the driver in a single continuous screen in 2023.6 BMW creates an authentic cinematic experience by installing a 31.3-inch 8K touchscreen display with built-in Amazon Fire TV. Rear seat passengers can watch films and TV shows in 16:9, 21:9, or 32:9 cinemascope aspect ratio for an immersive experience.7

BMW Theatre Screen – with Amazon Fire TV built-in (Source: BMW)

The head-up display (HUD) pushes the boundaries of the display technology. HUD is a projection technology that virtually displays critical driving-related information, such as speed, safe distance warnings, or navigational data within the driver’s field of vision (FOV). The demand of safety features from connected cars are predicted to boost the advanced HUD market. The advanced HUD system can ensure higher safety by working with onboard cameras and adaptive cruise control, and project lines on the highway to avoid accidents.

According to Verified Market Research, the global head up display market was valued at $1.26 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $8.03 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 26.05% from 2021 to 2028.8 HUDs are separated into combiner and windshield HUDs. The research from Insight Partners9 shows that increased adoption rate of windshield HUD and rising awareness about passenger and vehicle safety are driving the automotive HUD market size from $1.24 billion in 2022 to $3.31 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 17.7%.

To further increase safety and visibility in autonomous vehicles, augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are popular technologies to be introduced into HUDs. Insight Partners predicts the traditional HUDs are being transformed to augmented reality HUD (AR HUD), and the incorporation of AR in HUDs is anticipated to gain popularity in the coming years as manufacturers continuously attempt to improve the driving experience and installation prices are decreasing.



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