Currently reading: Jag's dashboards of the future
Autocar teams up with Jaguar to design the dashboards of the future

Autocar has teamed up with Jaguar to design the dashboard of the future. Making use of the new XJ’s TFT screen technology, the concepts reveal how the dashboard will evolve in the next decade. From retro plug-ins to track day specials, the display of information will be revolutionised.

The ‘black hole’ dashboard was one of the most striking features of the XJ when it was launched. Following Land Rover’s lead, Jag’s designers had ditched ‘real’ dials in favour of a virtual, computer screen display. The graphics it showed were relatively conventional, but it did get us thinking. Could we not reprogram the dash in the same way that we personalise our smart phones?

See exclusive pics of the Autocar/Jaguar dashboards

A trip to Jaguar’s design studio at Whitley revealed we were not alone with our thoughts. Mark Humphries is the Experience Design Manager and was responsible for developing the XJ’s dashboard technology. “The decision to create a virtual dashboard was taken very early in the development process,” he says. “We looked at lots of different influences. We’re all used to iPhone apps but we also spent a day with the Eurofighter team. Their ‘glass cockpit’ filters the information to reveal only what the pilot needs at that moment.”

This inspiration is reflected in all our concepts, which are clutter-free. Touring mode re-interprets a traditional analogue design theme with graphics that mimic authentic luxury materials. The ‘Jaguar butler’ facility uses artificial intelligence to combine data from the outside world, such as your diary entries, with the car’s key functions.

Audi: "The future is apps"

Track mode is inspired by the gaming world, and mixes circuit and vehicle data. There’s even an option to upload your lap straight to YouTube. Heritage mode mimics the Smiths Instruments’ dials found in the E-type. Even the toggle switches are animated, even though they’re controlled by a thoroughly modern touchscreen. The most futuristic of our designs is Stealth Mode, which apes the Eurofighter by providing only the information you need, when you need it.

“There are some legislative hurdles to be overcome,” says Humphries, “such as the need to show warning lights when you start the car. And the physicality of the viewing area hasn’t changed because it’s still defined by the steering wheel and the driver’s position, but beyond that there’s huge scope for invention.”

Read Autocar's road test of the new Jaguar XJ

The current generation XJ does not allow software updates of this nature, but Humphries admits it would be “hard not to” imagine the technology being introduced in the next few years. With other manufacturers certain to follow Jaguar Land Rover’s lead, we could be about to witness a new explosion in the ‘app’ economy.

Back to top

Join the debate

Add a comment…
artill 29 September 2010

Re: Jag's dashboards of the future

275not599 wrote:
Delighted to hear about your MKX. I always had a soft spot for the old whale. Must be getting quite hard to thread it through the "traffic calming measures" councils keep coming up with. 47 years, let's see, would that make it a 3.8?

Yes, its a 3.8 Auto. not very pc, but rather grand anyway

jelly7961 29 September 2010

Re: Jag's dashboards of the future

artill wrote:
Will these last the life of a car?

When I saw this article that is exactly what I thought. When we lived in the States we had a Mark VII Lincoln 2 door with a digital dash that was replaced 3 times during the lease period. The service guy said 'get rid of it before the warrantyexpires as it is almost $3000 to replace!' Now I know that electronics have moved on in the intervening period but have they? My top of the range Nokia phone lasted less than 5 weeks before requiring replacement. I now am going to get the cheapest possible phone and if it breaks - chuck it out. Can't do this with a car though can we?
superheater 28 September 2010

Re: Jag's dashboards of the future

When I had a drive in a XF I thought the dash was bad enough. So I didn't buy one!

This latest design is just pointless and ugly in my view. Certainly not for me, I 'm another who prefers gauges. But there again I don't have (or want) an i-phone.