General Motors has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an “adaptive” instrument panel that seeks to address the issue of dash instrumentation being blocked by the steering wheel. According to the automaker, as much as half of the information displayed by a vehicle’s instrument panel can become blocked as the driver turns the steering wheel. That’s a problem even during ordinary, everyday driving, GM says in its application, but it becomes an even greater one during performance driving events, when metrics like engine speed and oil pressure ought to be visible at all times.
The ability to view all relevant information at all times is also particularly important in autonomous vehicle applications, GM’s patent application says.
So, to combat the big blind spot that can be created by the steering wheel, General Motors has come up with a means of using a vehicle’s steering angle sensor to determine where to reposition readouts on a digital instrument panel. As the wheel turns, crucial information like vehicle speed, coolant temperature, and the like can thus dynamically reposition itself so as to be visible through the main opening in the steering wheel.
The patent drawings included as part of GM’s USPTO application depict the interior of the current C7 Chevrolet Corvette, perhaps suggesting that, like the advanced aerodynamic feature patents we reported on earlier in the week, the technology could be Corvette-bound.
Then again, with the rise in popularity of head-up displays like the one already available in the C7 Corvette, it seems automakers have already found a satisfactory solution to the problem of instrumentation being obscured by the steering wheel. What’s more, HUDs cast that information onto the windshield, more directly in the view of the driver, which translates to less time spent glancing down to the IP to ascertain vehicle speed, engine speed, and other information.
As always, just because it’s been patented does not necessarily mean that it will reach production.
(Source: Corvette Blogger)