The Art of Interface

Product 3

Automotive digital LCD dashboards

Category. Automotive full-digital instrument clusters manufacturing.

Application. Vehicle digital LCD dashboards (virtual instrument clusters), industrial indicator boards.

Description. Real-time 2D and 3D graphics rendering firmware programming, hardware development and integration, prototyping.

Automotive digital LCD dashboards

1. Introduction

In the past automobile meant mechanics. Then mechanics and electrics. And today it means mechanics and electronics. Modern car is sophisticated unity of high-accuracy mechanics and high-end electronics. Today microprocessors, those creatures of science world, are everywhere. They are small in size, reliable in functioning, effective in controlling various parameters. No wonder they have found their proper place in car-building industry, where control of parameters of any kind is in high demand.

Automotive digital LCD dashboard graphical design. “Classical” version. Fig. 1. Automotive digital LCD dashboard graphical design. “Classical” version.

Modern automotive microprocessors are highly integrated hybrid systems, that contain central processing unit (CPU), graphic processing unit (GPU) and additional peripheral for interacting with other chips and units, like CAN, I2C and UART interfaces — that is why they called systems on chip — SoC.

Automotive digital LCD dashboard graphical design. Mini-car version. Fig. 2. Automotive digital LCD dashboard graphical design. Mini-car version.

Maybe the first thought, the first picture when mentioning car is wheel and dashboard. Everybody who likes cars and driving loves that environment — well-shaped wheel, curved lines of torpedo, rows of gauges, switches and buttons. In collaboration with talented designer Michail Mukovoz Librow developed this marvelous product — digital LCD dashboard.

Automotive digital LCD dashboard graphical design. Version “Sport”. Fig. 3. Automotive digital LCD dashboard graphical design. Version “Sport”.

2. Digital LCD dashboard

The aim we persuaded in this project was to create compact, reliable and effective solution for digital car dashboard. Virtual instrument cluster development includes three major fields: hardware, firmware and graphical design.

Video 1. Automotive full-digital instrument cluster prototype.

Hardware includes components selection and PCB (printed circuit board) design — for this case we selected Fujitsu SoC automotive processor, which has impressive characteristics: it has 2D and 3D graphical engine, capable to render multilayered frames of up to 1024×768 pixels size, power effective ARM CPU core with excellent performance and a bunch of interfaces for in-car integration.

Graphical design — virtual gauges drawings, their placing and graphical interface was created by Michail Mukovoz.

The most important part of the firmware — graphics rendering pipeline — was developed using techniques of computer graphics and digital image processing (DSP, DIP), most of the code was written in C. Combination of the chip performance and thorough programming gave an impressive result — the whole dashboard with every indicator in action could be rendered just in frame blank period at 60 Hz. That is even single buffering rendering is enough for smooth and antialiased animation.

As result we got integrated closed solution that could be easily modified for any graphical design and adapted for any embedded platform. The entire digital dashboard solution consist of SoC processor, flash and dynamic memory, touch-screen, LCD unit and embedded firmware, which includes graphics rendering pipeline, interface system and graphical design.

3. Available options

Development and production of automotive full-digital instrument clusters:

Graphical design of automotive full-digital instrument clusters

Comprehensive service in graphical design for automotive full-digital instrument clusters:

  • creation of the instrument cluster graphics from scratch
  • development of the dashboard graphics based on your specification
  • redesign of the existing graphics
  • moving real metal and plastic design into virtual realm
Hardware for automotive full-digital instrument clusters

Full cycle of automotive full-digital instrument cluster hardware development:

  • schematics and component selection
  • PCB design and production
  • integration of the instrument cluster with existing on-board systems
  • housing manufacturing
  • service and support of the produced instrument clusters
Firmware for automotive full-digital instrument clusters

Full cycle of automotive full-digital instrument cluster firmware development, programming of:

  • 2D and 3D graphics
  • GUI
  • peripheral drivers
  • communication protocols
  • RTOS


Contact Librow —