The message displayed by Acura at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show is clear: the future of automaking is here, and we’re leading the way.
With an emphasis on electrification, automated driving, and connectivity, Acura has revealed their new Precision Cockpit, which fuses together both a modern operating system and a touchpad-based interface with an ergonomic design. This innovation plans to complement the earlier revealed Acura Precision Concept as a means of providing the building blocks for Acura’s future vehicle design.
“For today’s buyers especially millennials, the in-car technology experience is just as important as exterior design,” remarked Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura. “We need to match the prowess of our technologies with the simplicity and user-friendliness of our designs.”
Sporting an ultra-clear 12.3-inch driver’s display, the Acura Precision Cockpit derives much of its style from the NSX, hinting at a sporty future for the brand. Higher in the cabin rests a matching center display closer to the driver’s natural line-of-sight. This display is controlled through a curved touchpad that is designed to eliminate the need to visually locate a button or a switch. All these features are encapsulated in brushed metal, natural wood, leather, and alcantara finishes, giving the cabin a premium look and feel. This atmosphere is further enhanced through copper amber LED lighting, modern detailing, and custom colors and animations to match the mood of the driving mode selected by the user (the color red for Sport mode, blue for Comfort, white for Snow, and orange for Sport Plus).
Fueling this technology is the Android-based, next-generation Acura OS, which provides secure access to mobile apps, data, and content. In an effort to provide a seamless, choreographed experience, the user interface has been designed to clearly display information to the driver through two dedicated zones. Each zone helps the driver quickly navigate through various settings, including weather, audio, and notifications. Due to this, the navigation app always remains front and center.
“Every spot on the touchpad is mapped to a specific function on the display, just like a touchscreen. The simplicity of this design makes it unique, functional and personal – and particularly well suited for performance-oriented machines,” announced Dave Marek, executive creative director at Acura. “The research and development of our touchpad was validated by tens of thousands of hours at the Ohio State University’s world class Driving Simulation Laboratory established with the help of our Ohio R&D Center. What we discovered was that, on average, drivers become acclimated and comfortable with our new touch pad in just minutes.”
In addition to the reveal of the Acura Precision Cockpit, the company took the time to discuss the notable achievements and advancements in the areas of active safety and electrification technologies. With AcuraWatch now featured in more than 70,000 vehicles, the next step is the continued development and inclusion of Traffic Jam Assist to the suite, which provides increased driver assistance in stop-and-go highway driving. This announcement came in tandem with the news that AcuraWatch was to be eventually applied as standard equipment on all core models.
This news preceded the unveiling of a second generation RLX on the showroom floor, which was outfitted with a camera and GPS sensors, higher performance CPUs and GPUs, a suite of radar, improved cabling, and advanced heat management and circuitry. The vehicle is designed to achieve high reliability through the fusing of overlapping information from various sensors. Known as “sensor fusion”, it allows engineers to analyze and validate information from each signal with a higher degree of accuracy than the observation of any one individual sensor. This concept is applied in the AcuraWatch suite available on all model year 2017 Acura sedans and SUVs.