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      Innovation of the year
      Press Release
      September 24, 2018

      Automotive Brand Contest: Continental’s Integrated Cockpit System Crowned Innovation of the Year

      • The German Design Council awards the innovative design and operating concept with the special category “Innovation of the Year” in the Automotive Brand Contest
      • Futuristic design for vehicle interiors enhances the user experience with a range of features including Morphing Controls for changing surfaces
      • The 3D touch-sensitive display awarded as ‘Winner’ in the Future, Mobility & Parts category as well as the Continental corporate video in the Corporate Publishing category

      Babenhausen, September 24, 2018. Continental’s integrated cockpit system has been crowned Innovation of the Year 2018 in the Automotive Brand Contest. The technology company convinced the jury of the German Design Council with its innovative control concept for the vehicles of the future, which comprises multiple displays and touchscreens that are housed under large, curved glass surfaces and stretch across the entire width of the vehicle. The result is a homogeneous overall system – from the digital exterior mirror to the central display.

      “With its integrated cockpit system, technology company Continental is demonstrating the next level in the evolution of large-format user interfaces, bringing our vehicles one step closer to a world of autonomous mobility. This comprehensively integrated system seamlessly combines multiple displays and cameras with intelligent, morphing surfaces with active haptic feedback. The 3D-molded display glass offers not only a whole new level of design freedom for vehicle designers and developers, but also a completely unprecedented communication and interaction experience for users, helping to create a holistic user experience,” said the jury of the Automotive Brand Contest, explaining the reasons for its decision.

      “To ensure that technological innovations can be truly successful, they have to not only be exceptional in design but also ensure a positive user experience. Our integrated cockpit system is both a futuristic design and innovative human–machine interaction,” said Dr. Frank Rabe, head of the Instrumentation & Driver HMI business unit at Continental. “Receiving the Innovation of the Year award motivates us to continue placing users at the heart of our product design.”

      Complete digital cockpit system

      With its integrated cockpit system, Continental has resolved what has often been a contradictory set of requirements regarding human–machine interaction: as few buttons as necessary are to make as many functions as easy to use as possible. Among the solutions to this conundrum are the Morphing Controls control elements, which appear only when they are needed.

      Tried-and-tested capacitive proximity sensors behind the surface of the instrument panel detect the human hand and activate the buttons. The buttons then push themselves forward through the reversible, stretchable, multilayer surface material. The material was developed by Continental´s team of surface specialists. Thanks to its minimal scattering effect, the film that is used allows an extremely accurate and precisely contoured portrayal of the illuminated symbols with high illumination intensity and homogeneous lighting.

      Force measurement and haptic feedback from the display in the integrated cockpit system as well as an interior camera for monitoring the driver contribute to a holistic user experience. Thanks to Continental’s approach, this technology will be deployed as early as the next vehicle generation, helping to enhance safety, design freedom and individuality in the cockpit.

      3D touch surface display and Continental corporate video awarded as ‘Winner’

      The jury of the Automotive Brand Contest was also thoroughly impressed with the 3D touch display. The world’s first touch-sensitive display with a 3D surface won top prize in the Future, Mobility & Parts category. This display solution developed by Continental combines design, safety and an outstanding user experience, allowing drivers to operate functions without having to take their eyes off the road. The 3D surface also offers some exciting design possibilities.

      The jury also awarded top prize to Continental’s branding film in the Corporate Publishing category. The film takes the audience on a journey into the mobility of tomorrow. “People are constantly on the move. They explore the world around them. They want to know what’s hiding in plain sight.” These are the narrator’s opening words to the image film; words chosen to arouse your curiosity – about Continental and its innovations.

      “The film aims to give viewers a sense and feel of what it is that makes Continental special – pioneering technologies developed in response to societal concerns surrounding mobility,” says Marcus Lieberum, senior manager for Brand Communications. The film was premiered at the IAA in September 2017 and his since been screened worldwide.

      Automotive Brand Contest

      The Automotive Brand Contest is the only neutral, international design competition for automotive brands and has very quickly evolved into one of the world's most important industry competitions. With the competition, the German Design Council recognizes 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. In 2018, the winners will receive their awards at the Paris Motor Show.

      Available documents