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News hasn't exactly been great for Visteon of late, what with getting delisted, filing for bankruptcy and attempting to end the pensions of thousands of retirees. That's the bad news. The good news? A suite of impressive prototype dashboards on display at the Consumer Electronics Show that ranges from the pedestrian, multi-colored model in the Mustang, to the crazy 3D dash powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset. We've got photos, videos and plenty of impressions after the break.
The most basic dash designs are already in production, but even these range from the boring to the sublime. On the low end of the spectrum there are systems that still rely on plastic needles, while the other end is composed of LCD-based models for Range Rover and the latest Jaguar XJ. If you haven't seen these new displays, they're surprisingly bright and beautiful, and hard to distinguish from a mechanical dash until things start moving.
Like other automakers, Visteon is working on new technology to catch drowsy drivers before they go into a full-on snooze. The system uses an IR camera and emitters mounted in the dash to track the driver's eyes, whether in daylight or at night, to determine where the driver is looking and how wide his eyes are. From that (and surely some other parameters), the vehicle can tell just how alert the driver is, sounding an an alarm and even vibrating the seat to snap the driver back into reality.
Also on hand was the Connected Car, which is remarkably similar to the MyFord concept. With an Atom-powered processer running Linux (Moblin to be specific), the system can run custom apps, the first of which is Slacker, a music streaming app similar to Ford's Pandora setup. The device can also use a USB data modem, can work as a WiFi hotspot and aggregates all media either from internal storage or external devices (connected by USB) so that you don't have to remember where your tunes are stored – they just play. But the coolest inclusion was a place on the dash for a PowerMat allowing drivers to wirelessly charge their device on the go.
Then there was Advanced ICP Concept, technology that's set to show up in cars in the next two years. It combines a suite of soft-touch, virtual buttons and a touchscreen, all of which not only react to touch, but also react to a sweeping motions, meaning you can scroll through albums by simply waving your hand around. Similarly, the dash lights up near your hand as it hovers over.
Finally, there was the pièce de résistance: The Next Generation Cockpit concept. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photographs or video, but the system was powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 3D graphics chipset, which predictably provides phenomenal graphics performance for 3D navigation, but also results in some particularly flashy dials and gauges. Currently the system was just showing a loop, flinging information around that could cause drivers to erupt into an epileptic seizure. Thankfully, the display and its elements will be much simpler – similar to the existing Jag and Range Rover dashes – when it hits production in a few years. When the system does arrive, Visteon will use Open GL ES to render 3D content on a maximum of four displays, with primary interaction coming primarily from a 1280 x 480 capacitive touchscreen.