Sharp first showed off Dual View display technology in 2005. Since then, it has had some commercial success but, until now, had not been utilized in the US in what might seem to be a very natural application: an automobile dashboard. That changed with the debut of the so-called Splitview display in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and CL-Class cars at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Insight Media Consultant
A video of the Splitview display in operation in a Mercedes can be found on-line at URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSz42stmqVQ. (see video below)
The Dual View presents one image when the display is viewed at an angle of 30-45 degrees to left of the center line. This image blacks out if the viewer were to move towards the front of the display. The Dual View presents a second, independent image when the display is viewed at an angle of 30-45 degrees to the right of the center line.
In the Dual View display, the right hand image is, for example, presented on the even pixel columns and the left hand image is presented on the odd pixel columns of an LCD. A parallax barrier is placed on the front surface of the LCD. It serves to restrict view of the even columns/left hand image to an angular range to the left of the center line and the odd columns/right hand image to an angular range to the left of the center line. With this methodology, Dual View presents an independent image having half the native resolution of the LCD to each viewer.
Consider some of the uses and advantages of utilizing a Dual View type system in the automotive application.
Co-developed by Blaupunkt and Bosch, the centrally located 8-inch diagonal Splitview display might, for example, let the driver see an image containing information related to engine performance while the front seat passenger simultaneously watches an entertainment video. The inability of the driver to see the passenger’s image should allow a Dual View based system to comply with legal restrictions that apply to front seat DVD players visible to the driver while the vehicle is in motion. This is currently the case in 34 states. Mercedes is working with the other 14 states to obtain approval.
A second issue that could be successfully addressed by inclusion of a Dual View type display relates to operation of the on-board navigation system. As a safety measure, many automakers prevent use of all but the most simple navigation commands when the vehicle is in motion. As an example, while a car is moving, the driver might be allowed to enable a preset destination - assuming only a simple, single input is required. The more complex process of entering an address, one character at a time would not be permitted. With a Dual View based navigation display, such data entry should reasonably be permitted. The reason is that it can be arranged that, while the car is in motion, the driver can not see the programming screen. Its’ visibility can be restricted to only the front seat passenger, assuming there is a passenger available to enter the address.
Note that in the Mercedes, touch screen functionality is provided only to the driver’s view of the screen. The passenger’s view is controlled by a separate remote. The audio output associated with the passenger’s view can also be routed through headphones so as to minimize distraction of the driver.
The Mercedes is not the first example of an automotive application for Dual View technology. A similar system was developed by Delphi and presented at the 2008 CES show. In addition, the Jaguar XJ is available with a similar Dual View technology in other parts of the world. But the Mercedes new Splitview system appears to be the first time a Dual View technology has used in a production vehicle in the US.
One related exception comes to mind. An auto electronics manufacturer called Visteon produced a DVD player intended for the back seat of a vehicle that included a Dual View type display. The company also produced a Dual View based after market in-dash radio/navigation system. These systems were not big commercial successes. Part of the reason for this was poor timing. Consumer preference changed from a single DVD player with a display that dropped down from the roof, in favor of two separate displays mounted in the back of the two front seat headrests.
At this time, there is no word on the price of the Splitview option but it is expected to be available starting summer 2009.