Automotive components have undergone a massive technological revolution in the recent past. The building blocks of automotive systems gradually transitioned from mechanical to electronic, while establishing a new status quo in the industry.
One of the main drivers for this change was the increasing amount of digital content that was being accessed from within the vehicle. Information gathered from the internet for entertainment, road traffic monitoring data obtained from satellites, transmission of vehicle location data to the cloud, etc. are some of the examples of data transmission from/to the modern vehicle.
Connected digital instrument cluster is the technical breakthrough that has fueled this paradigm shift in the automotive industry. It enables clear and concise display of vehicle parameters to the driver, at the right time, to avoid driver distraction and elevate the driving experience altogether.
Embitel partners with global OEMs and Tier 1 Suppliers to design and develop cutting-edge digital instrument clusters for the connected vehicles of tomorrow.
Key Features of Our Custom-Designed Digital Instrument Cluster
A digital instrument cluster surpasses the functionalities of its analog counterpart and differentiates automotive product lines in the competitive marketplace.
Collaborate with us to develop connected cluster solutions that are:
Dynamically change the information displayed based on vehicle or driving conditions
Display only the most relevant information in the least intrusive manner to avoid driver distraction
Easily add more functionality to the digital instrument cluster by upgrading software
Implement custom design considerations to incorporate your unique business ideas and brand voice
Digital Instrument Cluster HMI – Selected Project Achievement Story
We accomplished quick start-up of an automotive digital instrument cluster HMI module so that the images were updated on the screen within 10 milliseconds!
Connected Cluster Design and Development Services
Development of Complete Digital Cockpit Solution
- A fully connected and secure system that combines multiple experiences on a single platform
- Device virtualization technology to separate the operating system (OS) of the digital instrument cluster from the infotainment system OS
- ISO 26262 compliant solution development for failure safety
- Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
- Integration of Driver monitoring app for driver behavior assessment, voice assistance and other AI capabilities
- Vehicle Infotainment system development
- Integration of Over the Air (OTA) update module
- Heads Up Display (HUD) unit development
- Integration of Telematics module
- Product development considering holistic IoT security principles
Digital Instrument Cluster Hardware Design
- Evaluation of business requirements and selection of microcontroller platform
- Design of hardware schematics
- Hardware testing in compliance to automotive standards and business use cases
- Inclusion of features to facilitate future expansion and upgrades
Vehicle Instrument Cluster Software Design and Development
- Assistance for implementing features such as phone and cloud connectivity, navigation, FOTA update module, alerts and warning, etc.
- Development of BSP and middleware software modules
- Development of software components and device drivers
- HMI/UI design and development to suit a wide range of budgets and use cases
Ready-to-Deploy FOTA Micro Stack for Connected Cluster
Our FOTA micro stack accelerates the development of connected smart clusters. The micro stack facilitates the introduction of new software features or existing firmware update, over the air.
Firmware update is orchestrated through the cloud, and it can be scheduled at a specific time. Once the binaries are downloaded from the cloud, the system restarts to install and execute the changes.
While end-to-end implementation of an automotive FOTA solution may take 60-70 days, our ready-to-deploy stack enables this feature in 18 days.
The FOTA micro stack includes the following modules:
- FOTA Gateway
- Download Engine
- Update Engine
FOTA Micro Stack - Error Handling Features
Error handling sequences are initiated when the following events occur:
- The connection with FOTA server is lost
- Discrepancy in firmware version is detected
- There is a download failure
- There is an installation failure
Ready-to-Deploy Bluetooth Micro Stack for Smart Clusters
Our Bluetooth Classic micro stack enables the driver to connect their mobile phone to the vehicle’s smart dashboard. Passcode pairing is performed to establish a safe connection between the phone and the Android based dashboard. On successful pairing, the call logs and contact details are shared with the smart dashboard.
The Bluetooth stack has a modular architecture. So, based on the customer’s requirements, specific modules can be chosen and implemented for their project.
Various features enabled by the Bluetooth micro stack are as follows:
- Hands-free Calling – This is implemented using the Bluetooth profiles - PBAP (Phone Book Access Profile) and HFP (Hands Free Profile). Alerts for incoming calls and messages are displayed on the smart cluster screen. The user is also able to make outgoing calls from the HMI, and these are routed through the mobile phone. Hardkeys enable the user to make quick calls to important or frequently-used phone numbers.
- Bluetooth Audio – This feature is implemented using A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and AVRCP (Audio/Video remote Control Profile). As soon as Bluetooth pairing is completed, music files from the phone can be displayed on the dashboard screen. Audio playback and pause control is available on the screen.
Smart Cluster Architecture with FOTA and Bluetooth Micro Stacks
The FOTA and Bluetooth micro stacks are available to customers on a one-time licensing fee model. As per this model, the customer jointly owns the IP rights of the software and source code of the stack. They can also deploy the stack across multiple projects.
The FOTA and Bluetooth stacks can be integrated with a smart cluster as shown in the architecture diagram below:
Connected Instrument Cluster Development - Customer Success Stories
[Video] Why is Digital Instrument Cluster an Ideal Solution for Electric Scooters?
FAQs on Digital Instrument Cluster Development
Q1. When selecting the dashboard hardware for two-wheelers, light four-wheelers and heavy vehicles what are the main differences to bear in mind?
Ans. The hardware configuration will change based on real-time dependence on OEM defined functionality. For example, in two-wheelers, there is no need to include an advanced audio system as music applications do not have priority in this case.
On the other hand, a good audio system will enhance the dashboard of a car or a truck. While designing the instrument cluster for such vehicles, priority managers are required. The role of the priority manager is to ensure that a specific audio track takes priority over the other when both are scheduled to play at the same time. For example, phone vs music, phone vs navigation guidance, Voice Recognition (VR) vs navigation, etc.
VR is the most important feature in cars, but this is not required in two wheelers. Similarly, HVAC and Rear View Camera (RVC) are other features that need to be incorporated in digital instrument clusters of cars and heavy vehicles.
Ans: It can be different for different System on Chip (SoC). When you select NXP SoC from i.MX 8 family, you will require 1.5 GB RAM for two-wheelers and 2 -2.5 GB RAM for four-wheelers and trucks.
Ans: Yes, this is possible. There are different ways to achieve the digital e-cockpit solution with a single SoC. Please get in touch with our team to understand how this can be done.
Ans: No, it is not mandatory to have a secure OS.
Ans: Android Automotive OS, Linux, AGL – Automotive Grade Linux.
Q6. What are the application frameworks available to implement applications and GUI in cluster regardless of operating system and hardware platform?
Ans: These are some of the application frameworks we use for this purpose:
- Qt & QML
- Kanzi Studio
Ans: SVN – Stolen Vehicle Notification
The user can remotely enable this feature from mobile/web, once the stolen vehicle comes online. Once the SVN is received, it is possible to disable few functionalities such as touch and acceleration.
VPN – Vehicle Position Notification
Through this notification, the user will know about the vehicle’s position. Geo fencing can also be used to define VPN.
Ans: No, it is not recommended to update the Android OS over Bluetooth because of footprint.
Q9. We are an OEM developing ICE powered motorcycles. Can you help in developing a cost-effective digital instrument cluster for us?
Ans: Yes, in the past we have worked on a similar project for a leading supplier of automotive electronics products. In that project, we developed a connected digital instrument cluster with the assistance of our Ecosystem Partners, from whom we procured cost-effective LED screens best suited for the project. Connect with us to learn more about our capabilities in this area.
Q10. We are an automotive OEM developing digital instrument cluster for our two-wheelers. The solution needs to have cloud connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity to the mobile phone of the rider. Have you worked on any such project before?
Ans: Yes, we have recently worked on a project in which we integrated a Bluetooth connectivity module with a two-wheeler digital instrument cluster. The primary MCU was on a different module of the cluster. The MCU of our Bluetooth module makes a connection with the primary MCU through UART and reads the fault codes, speed, odometer info, fuel level details, etc. This information is also sent to the mobile application of the rider.
Additionally, the cluster connects to the cloud and transmits vehicle data. This information is processed in the cloud to derive intelligent insights.
Reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this project.