First, we had the LCD display in the centre showing just vehicle operations to keep the driver informed of important functions. On some cars, a trip computer also gave useful information about fuel consumption, travel time to a destination, range on remaining fuel, etc. As GPS navigation systems became affordable, the small monitors started to show maps and route guidance.
Soon, Mercedes-Benz will introduce the next stage in the evolution of in-car displays with a display screen that will allows the driver and front passenger to view two different programmes at the same time. While the driver is checking the navigation instructions, the front passenger can sit back and watch a movie on the very same display.
This new feature is made possible by SPLITVIEW technology which the Germany luxury carmaker is introducing in the S-Class, a world’s first. The SPLITVIEW technology was developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch and is integrated into the control and display system known as COMAND, which is centrally located in the dashboard console.
Its generously dimensioned, 8-inch monitor shows a backlighted active matrix colour display (TFT-LCD). This can show two different images simultaneously by placing pixels adjacent to each other. A filter masking the display divides this mixed image in such a way that depending on the seating position, only the pixels making up one or the other image can be seen. As a result, the driver and front passenger can view different programmes on the same screen at the same time.
The driver still has access to all the information from COMAND on the display, while the front passenger uses the remote control to choose his or her own entertainment programme sourced from DVDs, TV channels or music videos. To avoid distracting the driver with his entertainment programme, the passenger also has the option of enjoying the programme via headphones. As before, the driver is able to view all the information provided by the COMAND system on the display. However, for safety reasons, the driver cannot watch the movie while the car is in motion.
The new SPLITVIEW technology will be available for the S-Class from mid-2009.