Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Projected Mode might be taken by storm if NVIDIA has its way with its Tegra K1 chip. All-touch dashboards might become the norm, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that most drivers have nothing against that.
The Tegra chip can already be found in Tesla’s Model S infotainment system, as well as in the new Audi A3, but NVIDIA wants more than that. Tesla’s Model S dashboard still looks nothing less than spectacular, but in the end, what stands in the center of the infotainment system is nothing more than a vertical 17″ touchscreen display. To give drivers a feeling of uniqueness, dashboards need to have more spectacular shapes and functions, and that is exactly what NVIDIA achieved with JEEP at GTC 2014.
David Anderson, Senior Automotive Solutions Architect of NVIDIA’s Automotive Business Unit, admitted that the demo JEEP, or his “pet project,” as he likes to address it, takes some inspiration of Tesla’s electric vehicle, while not copying it. Anderson explained SlashGear that “Tesla’s all-touch approach is the direction we think dashboards will go.” After all, the only button on Model S’ dashboard is used for opening the glove compartment.
In JEEP’s case, the main display has a custom inverted teardrop shape, and it dominates a 3D printed dashboard. The second Tegra chip is used for powering the display located in front of the wheel. The car’s capacitive touchscreen is divided into three sections that all display different, yet relevant information. Navigation takes up the upper third of the screen, while the media carousel is found in the middle. Both of these can be customized to display information in a manner that suits the driver’s needs and taste. The HVAC section dominates the bottom of the screen. This is where the driver or the passenger sitting at his right can change the air conditioning or heating settings.
Personally, I believe it’s a good thing that NVIDIA decided to take the matter in its own hands, with a firm believe that it can do better than Apple or Google. Regardless of what infotainment system future cars will include, it’s great to see that there are a few options to choose from. Also, competition will determine car infotainment manufacturers to strive for progress, which is good for anyone wanting to buy a vehicle.