Audi Virtual Cockpit Ditches Analog Dash Gages For High-Res Digital Instrument Cluster

Traditional analog dashboard instruments have finally met their match if not their successor in the Audi Virtual Cockpit, a high-resolution digital instrument cluster set to make its debut in the 2015 Audi TT.

Audi is an industry leader in digital infotainment, with the new (2015 model year) A3 featuring a pop-up display, gesture-recognizing MMI controller, and a Tegra-powered brain. The upcoming 2015 Audi TT takes off where the eye-popping A3 leaves off, however, as its high-resolution digital instrument cluster replaces old-school analog gages altogether.

Mind you, the vast majority of today's drivers expect to see gages when they get behind the wheel, and the Audi Virtual Cockpit doesn't disappoint in that respect. Does it matter that actual red needles aren't moving up, down and around behind actual instrument bezels? Not at all – and the flexibility engineered into the new driver-focused display ensures the old analog dash won't be missed.

The default mode (“classic view”, in Audi-speak) presents a familiar scene of traditional round gages with white numerals and red pointers. A quick press of the “View” button on the steering wheel fast-forwards car and driver into the future, to what Audi calls “infotainment mode”.

In the latter, the speedometer and tach shrink down and splay out to the corners of the display: still visible but not overly so. Taking their place front & center in the 12.3-inch, 1440 x 540 TFT multi-purpose display panel are a host of high-resolution graphics highlighting a wealth of navigation and communication info.

Audi's engineers have beefed up the system with a high-speed 60fps refresh rate, Fresnel lens effects and physical scrolling effects that reinforce the perception of reality regardless of its true virtuality. Expect Audi's pioneering efforts in digital instrumentation to quickly spread throughout the industry as technology available now becomes adapted to the needs of drivers in a fast-paced environment. Even without the bells and whistles, shifting the driver's attention from a central console to an area much closer to their straight-ahead field of view has got to be a good thing. (via Slashgear and Cloudlakes)