The roles played by in-car control and display systems have evolved enormously over the last few years. Where once entertainment and vehicle controls were separate, the modern car integrates a huge range of functions into a unified interface. The amount of data this requires places key demands on the connectors used for infotainment systems.
The original infotainment displays used in cars merged traditional controls with the latest entertainment systems. They have now evolved far beyond these early developments and no longer simply provide information to the driver. Instead, the use of touchscreen displays and dynamic controls mean that these systems perform a central role in the operation of the car. Modern technology has created infotainment systems that are focused on presenting critical data to reduce the workload of the driver and minimize distractions.
This integration of different inputs prevents the use of static displays. Infotainment must deliver a wide range of data. Navigation, safety, entertainment, and road information can now be portrayed using adaptable, multi-function displays. In this way, the automotive industry has adopted technology that was previously only found in the cockpits of advanced aircraft. This has even seen the inclusion of heads-up displays into car design. These displays project information directly into the eye line of the driver, allowing all attention to be focussed on the road ahead instead of looking down (the driver remains “head-up” as opposed to “head-down”). These displays even use advanced optical physics which means that the driver’s eyes do not even need to re-focus.
The latest innovation combines these head-up displays with advances in augmented reality which will allow a range of information, including navigation commands and road hazards, to be projected onto the real-world view of the driver, improving situational awareness and safety. These techniques will see yet more sophistication added to in-car systems as cameras and other sensors add their input into the flow of information presented to the driver.
The design of these systems now plays a major role in the desirability of choosing a car, with displays designed to provide the right balance of attractiveness, functionality, and safety. At the same time, these sophisticated systems are subjected to the same conditions as any other automotive component. The automotive environment is harsh, with prolonged exposure to vibration, moisture, and extremes of temperature.
Unlike the aerospace example, most drivers do not conduct a pre-journey check before starting their car. Instead, the expectation is that the car will start every time, without fail. In certain conditions, lives may even depend on this level of reliability. This level of dependability is only achievable by choosing components that deliver both the performance and reliability for these difficult conditions.
Beyond the domestic market, operators of commercial and industrial vehicles have taken advantage of the technology pioneered in family cars. Trucks, along with construction and even agricultural vehicles are employing the latest displays to control their operation and provide the best possible performance for operators.
Connectors for Infotainment Systems
Providing connectivity for these data-hungry systems requires high-performance products. Samtec connectors are capable of delivering the reliability needed in the harsh conditions of the automotive industry. The Severe Environment Testing program subjects Samtec connectors to a battery of qualification tests that assure their performance far beyond commercial standards. Tests include thermal aging, mechanical shock with in-test continuity, and electrostatic discharge (ESD), all of which are hazards found in the automotive industry.
Samtec is IATF 16949, ISO 14001, and ISO 9001 certified, and its vertically integrated manufacturing processes deliver in-house tooling, plating, and automated manufacturing capabilities. Samtec is ideally equipped to assist automotive customers with both the needs of research and development and the demands of high-volume production.
Take a look at the latest Automotive applications page to learn more about how our products, along with testing and manufacturing facilities, make Samtec your ideal partner for connectors for infotainment designs.