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LA show: Acura opens Precision Cockpit

Precision Cockpit concept hints at future Acura/Honda cabin tech advances

17 Nov 2016

HONDA’S North American sister brand Acura has teased the future of its interactive and tech-packed interiors with a Precision Cockpit concept that previews forthcoming mobility innovations, autonomous driving and electrification for the Japanese brand.

While still a concept at this stage, Acura says the systems are “near production” in their development and although it is the US-only brand that has wheeled out the concept at the Los Angeles motor show, it is likely the kit will filter into Honda models in other parts of the world.

Acura says the cabin styling – which is not hosted by a donor car – is inspired by its flagship NSX sportscar with simple but bold surfaces manufactured from leather, Alcantara, brushed metal and wood, but the various digital displays form the centrepiece of the Precision Cockpit.

Like Audi’s pioneering Virtual Cockpit, the Acura driver’s instrument cluster is an all-digital 12.3-inch screen for displaying a variety of customisable information.

The large screen can display the more conventional information such as navigation instructions and speed, but can also switch to an augmented 3D reality display that can highlight and predict the movements of other road users using so-called artificial intelligence.

The latter advances can assist drivers in avoiding hazards, but Acura says its main benefit is in combination with automated driving and can allow occupants to monitor the various sensors and systems about the car.

With vehicle-to-vehicle technology (V2V) the screen also projects the information being relayed to it from other vehicles such as a warning glow when approaching a hazard that is not yet in line of sight.

When finalised for production cars, the system will be added to the company’s AcuraWatch technology, broadening its capability and safety assistance, as well as increasing consumer confidence in autonomous systems as they progress towards full self driving.

The instrument cluster screen is complemented by a second central screen which has been mounted high on the dash for easy viewing, particularly by the driver, and while many car-makers opt for touchscreen tech, the Acura system uses a touchpad with hot-key zones.

Drivers can swap information between the two screens depending on the most important and Acura says the Absolute Positioning touchpad tech is one of the simplest and most intuitive methods of navigating an information system to date.

The pad is located in the centre console of a left-hand-drive cabin which will work best with a predominantly right-hand-drive populous, but the car-maker has not said if a different solution will be offered for right-hand drive markets.

The system runs on Acura’s next-generation Android-based operating system that will be launched in showroom models from next year.

Acura has not revealed which models will be first to benefit from the concept or which features will start the roll out, but an update for the NSX is one possibility. Ultimately the systems are expected to proliferate the entire range.

In addition to the demonstrator show piece, Acura has also indicated its commitment to autonomous driving and evolved technology with a specially modified version of the company’s RLX, which is dubbed the Honda Legend in other markets.

With a battery of lidar, radar, GPS sensors and cameras, the development vehicle uses ‘sensor fusion’ or the sharing and rapid computation of data that is necessary for autonomous driving.

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