Continental says it has developed a new display and control concept that has made its way into the first pre-development projects with vehicle manufacturers.

With the centre stack module, Continental says it has developed a new way to fully visually integrate an 8″-colour display plus all control functions in a centre stack.

The new module uses black panel technology to make the transition from display surface to control elements smoother, such as virtual switches and slide controls. Display and control elements are only visible when the illumination is activated.

The centre stack’s surface consists of a tinted and three-dimensionally shaped front cover with definable tint level. Under this front cover is the 8″-colour display, the illumination, and the capacitive foils which recognise the driver’s or front passenger’s input.

The backlighting of the centre stack and display is done with energy efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs). Separate control elements give direct access to the climate control. Several modes of operation ensure that the visual information is ergonomically optimised. For example, inactive functions are faded out (“fade effect”) to direct the driver’s attention.

The possibility to choose a range of colours for display and control elements together with a uniform set of shapes is another benefit to further optimising centre stack ergonomics, Continental maintains. If the driver activates temperature control as part of HVAC, capacitive slide controls light up to the side and beneath the display. As the control colour varies between blue and red the driver will perceive the corresponding temperature level.

Using colour coding of this type makes handling the controls more easy and makes the stack appear bigger, Conti says.

The capacitive area’s control behaviour also changes: temperature control has been consciously given very fine steps, so it takes several sliding movements to trigger great temperature changes (relative level control).

Fan control works differently as all steps are contained within the physical length of the sliding area of the control (absolute control).

The new centre stack concept integrates all the electronic components within a pre-configured module: This includes the functional printed board and the microcontrollers which interpret the capacitive fields, the display control, the light-guiding plate with LEDs, the capacitive foils, and the front cover.

A centre stack with Continental technology can be designed with lower height and lower weight than conventional centre stacks, the firm says. With some cockpit geometries that make it tough to integrate a flap display the new concept also offers an alternative. Consumer electronic interfaces can be integrated into the centre stack also, the firm adds.