[CEATEC 2013] We took a look at the Mazda Connect when CEATEC kicked off officially yesterday, and here we are with the Heads Up Cockpit from the Japanese auto manufacturer. The first commercially available Mazda vehicle that will see the implementation of the Heads Up Cockpit would be the Mazda AXELA, where this particular system will hopefully be able to make driving more pleasurable as well as informative for the driver – all without having to turn one’s glance or eyes away from the road so that total concentration on what’s ahead can be maintained while having access to the relevant information on hand.
Mazda has identified three different areas that they claim are the main causes for negligent driving – visual distraction (your eyes wandering away from looking at the road), cognitive distraction (not concentrating normally on what’s ahead) and manual distraction (removing one or both hands from the steering wheel to attend to something else).
The Heads Up Cockpit from Mazda hopes to eliminate all of that by offering an Active Driving Display that will work in tandem with a 7″ wide VGA center display, alongside a Commander Switch console that somewhat reminds us of BMW’s iDrive system when it was first launched.
The Active Driving Display will minimize the amount of time required for eye movement since it is right in front of you on top of the dashboard at the steering wheel area. The virtual display is positioned at around 15cm from the driver’s eyes, where it will show the vehicle’s speed, turn-by-turn instructions if you have navigational capability on the ride, as well as a safety operation status and warning information on select vehicles.
As for the 7″ center display, it will enable intuitive operations by offering simple and legible fonts as well as icons, alongside the optimal space between the lines so that you do not need to make your eyes work overtime while trying to decipher something.
Last but not least would be the Commander Switch console that comprises of just five buttons – Home, Back, Navi, Entertainment and Favorite, accompanied by a Volume knob. There is a center rotary switch which is linked to the screen, making it a whole lot easier to navigate.
I must say that the Heads Up Cockpit uses green as the color of choice to show off the current speed and turn-by-turn details, which I assume enough research has been done to show that green is the optimal color for drivers to register quickly while they are behind the wheel. After all, the other HUDs that I’ve seen on the showfloor to date do seem to concentrate a whole lot on green as well, although Pioneer’s ND-HUD10 system does seem to mix some color into the fray.
All in all, it is just a matter of time before the rest of the vehicle manufacturers start to roll out their own Heads Up Display technology of their own, or they could just license one from a solution that simply “works”. Either way, driving is getting simpler as the technology becomes more complex.