Audi Virtual Cockpit is one of the single best pieces of technology on the market, bar none. It blends beautiful graphics, easy interaction, and loads of information in a way that similar all-digital gauge clusters from brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, and Cadillac can't match. Other brands might not stand even with Audi, but Acura is certainly going to try.

The company is demonstrating its efforts at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show with the new Precision Cockpit. Like Audi, JLR, and Cadillac, Acura is using a 12.3-inch display in place of a traditional set of gauges that changes color schemes and animations based on the driving mode. A prominent central display joins the digital IP and features what looks like an evolution of the company's current infotainment software. But rather than a knob and dial or physical buttons, Acura is taking a page out of Lexus' book, using a touchpad to control the center display.

  • Image Credit: Acura
  • Image Credit: Acura
  • Image Credit: Acura
  • Image Credit: Acura
  • Image Credit: Acura
  • Image Credit: Acura
  • Image Credit: Acura


But before we lament the touchpad too much, it's worth pointing out how Acura says its arrangement is different. Using something called "absolute positioning," the touchpad behaves more like an actual touchscreen – tap a corner on the pad and whatever's in the same corner of the display responds. In that way, it sounds like Acura is trying to marry a touchscreen with a more ergonomically comfortable interface. Color us curious.

Precision Cockpit also stands apart in how Acura optimized it, designing the system with semi-autonomous driving in mind. The company went as far as to use a real-time 3D graphics engine to display what the vehicle's sensors "see" inside the instrument cluster. There's even an advanced vision mode that allegedly shows "cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and other objects – even those obscured from vision – using artificial intelligence to predict future pathways."

While Acura is calling Precision Cockpit a concept, the company confirmed in its official release that the Android-based system "will power future production cars." If it comes with all the tech Acura's promoting here, Precision Cockpit stands to be a significant step forward in the digitization of car interiors.

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