Honda’s North American premium brand Acura has unveiled a “near-production interior styling and technology concept”, the Precision Cockpit.

The cockpit’s seats, steering wheel and drive mode dial are inspired by the NSX with brushed metal, natural wood, leather and alcantara finishes to create a premium look and feel. Expressive surfacing and modern detailing include copper amber LED lighting. 

The instrument panel houses a wide, ultra-clear, 12.3-inch driver’s display.  It sports a double-layered structure covered in stitched leather surfaces, providing a lightweight and high contrast image. A matching centre display is placed high in the cabin, in a visually elegant location, close to the driver’s natural line-of-sight. Custom colours and animations match the mood of the driving mode selected by the driver – white for Snow, blue for Comfort, red for Sport and orange for Sport Plus.

The centre display is operated through a curved touchpad that is optimally positioned in the centre console. The touchpad is ergonomically designed to eliminate the need to visually locate a button or a switch.

When automated systems are engaged, the digital meter in the driver’s display utilises a real-time 3D engine to support a dynamic layout that displays other cars and road objects recognised by the vehicle’s sensors, using vehicle-to-vehicle communications to visually distinguish cars operating autonomously. An advanced vision mode uses 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 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. A traditional touchscreen approach is intuitive and direct, but forces a compromised placement of the screen close to the driver and out of the driver’s natural line-of-sight. A traditional remote-based interface – common in luxury cars – solves these challenges, but the interaction between the remote and the display is often indirect and clumsy. 

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. Favourites 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 centre display. 

The cockpit also previews the Android-based, next-generation 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 centre 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 centre. Bespoke animations and audio chimes were engineered to enhance the in-cabin experience.

The prototype system will be evolved into the new interior design for production vehicles starting in the next few years.