For many new vehicles, high-tech and ergonomic features can be key selling points. In the automotive industry these features are referred to as the user interface or UI. Add-ons such as touch screens and high definition (HD) entertainment provide desirable elements that greatly contribute to the overall consumer acceptability of a vehicle. As an industry-representative competition, EcoCAR 2 teams are urged to meet state of the art standards for UIs and attempt to exceed many consumers’ expectations.
The UI team at Colorado State University (CSU) has developed its core concept for the user’s interaction with the system. The team designed a system which focuses on placing both the passengers and the driver in the center of a media experience, while simultaneously minimizing the distraction to the driver while on the road.
Many features will be available in the CSU Malibu H2eV, including integration with cell phones and, ideally, steering wheel controls. Integrating with the driver’s cell phone offers the convenience and safety of being able to control the cell phone and stream media from the vehicle’s main media system.
The UI designed for the CSU Malibu H2eV will consist of one large touch screen in the center console of the vehicle, which will control the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, the car stereo and radio. Additionally, this system will contain auxiliary touch screens throughout the vehicle to provide control input and output to the users. The passenger experience has been created to entertain people, particularly children, by adding screens to the back of the front seats, as well as a touch screen in the rear center console for the rear system control. Another unique addition to this vehicle is the integrated HDMI input port, allowing any device with HDMI output (e.g. Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and most modern computers) to be connected into the media system. This allows passengers to play movies or games throughout the entire vehicle using the main audio system.
Attempting to improve upon the well-engineered 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is no simple task. The CSU UI team is excited to continue refining the re-designed Malibu H2eV in Year Three!