This paper present a unique and comprehensive design process that has been pilot tested to assure that future automotive cockpit systems are well integrated, cost effective and they achieve superior ergonomics performance. With ever increasing possibilities of new technological feature content and tremendous cost pressures, the auto manufacturers have a challenging task to provide the customers with the latest features at affordable costs in shorter design cycles. The Automotive Cockpit Enablers (ACE) team consisting of seven automotive suppliers and two universities has created a unique process to approach the problem.
The process consists of a series of steps and inter-workings of three cross-functional teams. The steps involve: 1) Review Manufacturer’s Program Assumptions and Brand Strategy, 2) Identify Product Content and Features, 3) Develop Optimum Seating Package, 4) Determine Available Space for Controls and Displays, 5) Develop Design Concepts and BICEPS (Best in class engineering product system) Input. 6) Develop Alternative Control and Display Layouts with Ergonomics Scores, 7) Develop Working Models of Driver Interfaces for Simulator Evaluations, 8) Conduct Evaluation Tests in the Driving Simulator Using Representative Drivers, 9) Make Changes to the Design as Necessary Based on the Simulator Results [Repeat steps 5 through 9 as needed], 10) Develop Cost Models from Selected Prototypes, 11) Develop Supporting System Architecture, 12) Conduct Additional Validation Tests as Needed (may use prototyped instrumentation in actual vehicles on public roads for concept validation), 13) Conduct Validation Tests for Brand Sensory Perceptions for Materials, Feel, Harmony/ Craftsmanship Issues Using Representative Subjects, 14) Conduct Evaluations of Visual Characteristics, 15) Conduct a Comprehensive Ergonomics Evaluation.
The paper provides descriptions, inputs and outputs of the above steps along with inter-workings of the mechanical, electrical and HMI (Human Machine Interface) integration teams that support the process, and some details and results of the driving simulator studies that provide early evaluation of various HMI concepts.