Atmel stays ahead of the curve with its next-generation car center console

Connected cars are expected to be among several of the key trends at this year’s International CES. With up to a hundred million lines of code, at least 30 MCU-controlled devices — and some with as many as 100 — the vehicle is the ideal application to bring smart, connected devices in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). Not only will these vehicles be packed with next-gen functionality ranging from navigation and parking assistance to diagnosis and road conditions, they will become much more intuitive and integrated with smartphone-like interfaces. In order to provide this, the automobile of tomorrow will feature a curved center console display offering a large amount of real estate for information to drivers. And, the newly-announced AvantCar™ 2.0 will make this possible.

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The successor to the concept introduced a year ago, the AvantCar 2.0 is equipped with an array of Atmel technologies including a 2.5D model of a car connected to a fully-functional central display demonstrating car access, car networking, MCUs, audio streaming over-Ethernet-AVB and CryptoAuthentication™ products. The futuristic AvantCar 2.0 sports active touchscreens, curved form factors, personalized color schemes and navigation menus via touch buttons and sliders in a cutting-edge sleek center console.

Focusing on user requirements for future generation automobiles, AvantCar 2.0 delivers an advanced human machine interface (HMI). The new concept boasts curved touchscreens highlighting HMI in upcoming automobiles using Atmel technologies like maXTouch touchscreen controllers and XSense flexible touch sensors, as well as Atmel’s QTouch™ with proximity sensing, LIN networking for ambient lighting controls, and automotive-qualified AVR MCUs.

“As a leading provider of smart, connected devices with sophisticated, easy-to-use HMI, Atmel is committed to delivering a state-of-the-art connected experience in the automobile,” Rob Valiton, Atmel SVP and GM of Automotive, Aerospace and Memory Business Units. “Atmel’s AvantCar 2.0 showcases the connected car and delivers a futuristic center console showcasing our latest technologies in a sleek, slim center console with increased performance and fully connected throughout the car. We are excited to bring this next-generation concept to the public demonstrating the future of HMI in the connected car.”

Upon quick glance, one thing you will notice is that the AvantCar 2.0 is a bit different than your typical console — no more mechanical buttons or clunky knobs. 

Instead, the touchscreens integrated capacitive touch buttons and sliders enable users to navigate general applications typically found within an automotive center displays. The second generation demo is slimmer than its predecessor, offering a more appealing aesthetic with improved performance including Silicon Image’s MHL® (Mobile High-Definition Link) solution — a technology that allows users to easily transmit content from a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device to larger displays such as in-dash automotive displays, while charging the mobile device.

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“The last one wasn’t as tailored to automotive standards for display quality,” Paul Kopp, Atmel Director of Automotive, told Venture Beat in a recent interview. “It also has curved liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that weren’t available before. It will look more like a curved surface. The designers really want that in automotive now. The lines will blend more with the vehicle itself.”

While carmakers have been using haptic feedback, it’s apparent that the trend has shifted towards much larger screens and easier touch technology. Tomorrow’s displays will likely be pretty big. While the average is currently about 8 inches diagonal now, it could, in fact, head closer to 10 inches or 12 inches in future models.

“When Tesla came out with a 17-inch main screen, that woke up a lot of the American manufacturers to the idea of bigger displays in the car,” Kopp told Venture Beat. “The right size for the user? The jury is still out.”

Those heading to Vegas for the world’s largest electronics show can experience the newly-unveiled AvantCar 2.0 concept by speeding on over to the Atmel booth (#MP25760) in the LVCC South Hall.

4 thoughts on “Atmel stays ahead of the curve with its next-generation car center console

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