November 03, 2015 Volume 11 Issue 41

Designfax weekly eMagazine

Subscribe Today!
image of Designfax newsletter


View Archives


Manufacturing Center
Product Spotlight

Modern Applications News
Metalworking Ideas For
Today's Job Shops

Tooling and Production
Strategies for large
metalworking plants

Wheels: Next-gen instrument panel design nets Continental top industry award

[Editor's note: Watch the video to see this dashboard in action.]

The German Design Council awarded Continental's Hybrid Instrument Cluster the "Best of Best" award in the Automotive Brand Contest 2015 during the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 15. This German Design Council award honors the outstanding achievements of the design team in the automotive industry's product and communication design sectors. The team received the award for its contribution to the future of the instrument cluster in the car. The hybrid technology theme runs throughout the entire design, blending analog indicators with a stunning and extremely versatile OLED information stream.

Continental's Hybrid Instrument Cluster seamlessly combines analog and next-gen digital elements.



The German Design Council uses the Automotive Brand Contest to recognize outstanding product and communication design, steering attention toward the fundamental importance of brands and brand design in the automotive industry. The focus here is on the holistic and consistent depiction of the brand across all media and products. The competition is the only neutral, international design competition for automotive brands and, within a very short space of time, it has evolved into one of the world's most important industry competitions. The Automotive Brand Contest provides companies in the automotive industry and their partners in the supply, design, and brand communications industries with a platform to compare their achievements and position themselves on an international level.

"With the optical three-dimensional structure and the associated virtual combination of digital and analog worlds, the Continental designers are not only setting innovative aesthetic standards, but they are also offering their cockpit design colleagues completely new design possibilities," said jury member Prof. Andrea Lipp, explaining why the Continental Hybrid Cluster merited the "Best of Best" award.

"In our Hybrid Instrument Cluster, we combine a three-dimensional tinted glass-look surface with traditional analog indicators," said qualified designer Jochen Moller, who is responsible for the product design. Along with the analog instrument dials, the high-quality 7-in. AMOLED display integrates seamlessly and with no visible edges into the "black panel" surface of the instrument cluster, said Moller. Pixels from OLED displays emit lights themselves, unlike LCD/TFT displays. Black-activated pixels therefore do not emit any light and are thus actually black ("active black panel"). This results in a higher contrast and invisible transitions between the display and the adjoining surface. "The display content appears to be floating in the black space," Moller said. However, the indicators have deliberately been kept classically analog, so that the quality and three-dimensionality retain their character.

The hybrid-technology theme runs through the entire design. Circumferential LED optical fibers, which can emit light in a wide variety of colors, ensure striking ambient lighting. However, the light strip can simultaneously supply the driver with important additional information.

"If another vehicle overtakes, the driver is notified by means of partial illumination or color changes in the LED strip without having to look to the side," Moller said. The integrated display can show any kind of information, from infotainment and navigation to warnings.

The useful display surface in this design is not trimmed with tubes. The indicators, dials, and display are so precisely coordinated that they allow the available display surface to be adapted to the situation and used optimally. For example, the analog indicators interact with the display, with the printed tube dials (light guides) switching seamlessly to digital as required.

The Hybrid Instrument Cluster at a glance

  • Seamless 3D black panel surface (tinted, deep-drawn with homogeneous light transmission)
  • Active black panel effect thanks to the AMOLED properties, which give the instrument dials and the display an identical appearance
  • Seamless transition between analog and digital modes
  • Display image with innovative "levels" effect on a three-dimensional surface
  • Dynamic indicator interaction with the display
  • Optimum utilization of the display space

Source: Continental

Published November 2015

Rate this article

[Wheels: Next-gen instrument panel design nets Continental top industry award]

Very interesting, with information I can use
Interesting, with information I may use
Interesting, but not applicable to my operation
Not interesting or inaccurate

E-mail Address (required):


Type the number:

Copyright © 2015 by Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction Prohibited.
View our terms of use and privacy policy