Tesla started it, and many mainstream brands followed suit. The trend of bulky, tablet-like screens hogging the centre stage on dashboards has been the in thing for while now, especially for electric vehicles. Nissan, one of the pioneers of electric mobility, thinks the super-sized tablet infotainment screen is just a fad that’s only good to grab attention at motor show.
The Japanese carmaker chose to ditch this trend while designing the display for the Nissan Ariya Concept, prioritizing design and vision over what’s in vogue. Instead of a tablet, the electric crossover has a curved, two-screen display reminiscent of a wave.
The layout reflects Nissan's new Timeless Japanese Futurism design language, also expressed in the Ariya Concept's unique frontal "shield." But the horizontal design wasn't chosen for its good looks alone.
“The human eye naturally looks from side to side when driving,” explains Tomomichi Uekuri, senior manager of HMI engineering team. “People can see and absorb more information if it's laid out horizontally. Peripheral vision works this way as well.”
In addition to conveying information better for the human eye, the layout does so from a safer location — in the line of sight, closer to the road. It creates a horizon effect, becoming a seamless part of the dashboard. Nissan's design team calls this engawa – the undefined space between where you are, and where you are going.
Even though there are two screens in the Ariya Concept, information can move or be swiped between them to create the feeling of a single display. For example, if you want your route directions and map in front of the steering wheel, they can appear there. They can also move to the centre, or disappear when no longer needed.
"The display's wave construction is innovative and utilizes an ergonomic layout for both the meter display and the center display, not only for visibility, but also allows the driver to easily reach the center display touch screen," Uekuri says.