Redefine automotive human-machine interfaces

Man Machine Interface or HMI, traditionally consist of several systems that allow drivers to interact with your vehicle. In designs of cars today, the GUI also displays feedback to the driver of the vehicle. A relationship that begins when you open the car door, continues while driving, and ends when the driver leaves the car and blocks. This is an optimal balance between driver sensory stimuli to the driving experience safe and enjoyable. Some of the modules of the most commonly recognized HMI to improve the driving experience are keyless entry, power seat control, exterior mirrors control, occupancy sensing, and especially the center console of the vehicle, where most human-computer interactions take place.

Today, companies are increasingly venturing to the introduction of technologies that are supposed to be characteristic of consumer electronics in vehicles. In addition, the operator must be extended to allow drivers to control and access to personal electronic devices, cell phones, MP3 players, through the infotainment system of the car.

How drivers interact with these systems is changing as mechanical buttons give way to capacitive touch inputs, resistive touch screens to capacitive touch screens, standard bulbs to LED high brightness and color to color mixing standard solutions.

The automotive industry is undergoing a revolution in human-machine interface that continues to change the way drivers and passengers interact with their cars. Looking at some of the new products launched in recent years, and knowing what is in the line of development, one can, with some confidence, the project characteristics that drivers might be able to select when purchasing a new car.

One of the challenges facing the automotive market is the speed with which they can adopt and adapt to these new technologies. Today, semiconductor companies offer a wide range of automotive products qualified with integrated development tools to empower automotive system designers to develop models to test, optimize and implement seen only one other work in the field of consumer electronics. Capacitive touch technology, for example, offers flexibility and a high level of customization, allowing automotive designers to match the new features of existing mechanical design to improve functionality, replacing the button, the device touch input touch screens capacitive proximity sensors, or a combination thereof.

**** Based on the PSoC cypress family “of the product mixture of the signal matrix CapSense expands the capacity of standard analog PSoC programming by providing a way to implement efficient, flexible and cost of capacitive sensors , the detection of proximity, capacitive touch screens in a single chip. Degree of integration depends on the product used and the internal resources of chips available.

Improved button on the use of capacitive sensing technology to complement or enhance the functionality traditional mechanical keys. With the functional integration in infotainment modules, buttons can be programmed to suit the preferences of the driver. Capacitive sensor provides significant value by adding another functional layer as a simple button preview function or proximity detection as described in the proximity detection section below.

Button functions can vary from preset radio stations, playlists recorded, and the speed telephone number, a favorite destination for navigation systems. Capacitive touch can also be used as a redundant safety device to detect a failure mode switch stuck-critical function of mechanical switches such as the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) Off.

Button Replacement
Replacing the button is full implementation of capacitive touch with the elimination of all mechanical components of the panel switch module as shown in Figure 2. Capacitive sensing, in this case, it offers design freedom by eliminating the constraints imposed by the mechanical designs such as elbows, coating materials, and especially the manufacture of complex models.

Proximity sensors can also be integrated to provide a higher level of integration by disabling controls or disable the backlight panel until proximity is detected, when the system wakes up and returns to full operation. Another added value is provided system reliability by eliminating mechanical components which may fail over time and the possibility of using a panel design in a design room that provides a seal against the elements found in the passenger cabin (ie all liquids and particulates such as dust). Button replacement is not a new design problems, however, as can be overcome. Mechanical buttons, while providing tactile feedback capacitive touch-based designs are based on input from other sensory inputs such as human vision (status LED on the button) and sound (beep).

The touchscreen and touchpad
Although visually similar to the capacitive touch screen, resistive touch screens are still mechanical – resistive touch screens are based on the detection of pressure rather than touch sensors – that affect their durability and performance in automotive environments and for the life of the vehicle. Capacitive touch screens to gain strength in the new infotainment systems, because of its durability over time and across the temperature range of automotive and scratch resistance and increased transparency for resistive touch screens. As greater transparency is directly related to the energy of the system, requiring less intense backlighting, which reduces the total energy consumption in systems where power management is very complex due to the sealed package and placement of electronic modules. Figure 3 shows an example implementation of a navigation system with capacitive touch pads built into the bezel.

For the design of the center console using a mechanical power controller (joystick as a controller) rather than a touch screen, touch screen, in addition to the classic menu command (similar to a laptop touch screen), the extended features such as handwriting recognition and all the benefits of the device provides tactile feedback from a mechanical design.

Proximity sensors
Proximity detection beyond improved replacement button and the button. Proximity sensors, buttons can be completely eliminated, leading to the complete design flexibility and module packaging, and increased reliability. Proximity sensing applications are mainly related to lighting control and can be implemented in sets of ceiling light (see Figure 4), the application of the pocket door lighting, and storage compartments . The user detection is another application of a proximity sensing when used in the door handle (passive keyless entry) and the center console of the vehicle (to detect whether the driver or passenger is input to control and customize the button functions.)

With the unique concept of capacitive sensing, HMI designs are reinvented without being limited by the restrictions set forth above for mechanical components. Time will tell how quickly and widely Tier 1 and OEM adopt this technology, but seeing the capacitive sensors made traction on the consumer market, many car enthusiasts hope will be fast and all major automotive platforms.

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