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Siemens VDO unveils CESAR modular cockpit

Siemens VDO Automotive demonstrated its four-module CESAR cockpit design concept publicly for the first time at Convergence 2004. It’s intended to provide greater interior configuration flexibility for easier customization.

CEO and president John Sanderson says CESAR allows a variety of differing cockpit designs to be combined like building blocks. Four fundamental modules appear as one complete element when integrated. The magnesium support module is the backbone of the cockpit and houses its electrical wiring and electronic controls. The driver, center console and passenger modules are the visible areas of the interior and attached to the magnesium support structure at strategic mechanical points and through a standardized software interface.

"Cockpit components and design can be changed more easily during production and updated and serviced at any time," says Sanderson. The CESAR concept's classic design uses deep black and ivory-colored surfaces, accentuated with gleaming black control surfaces and air outlets. Under the surface is a refined electronics architecture, which is also modular.

“All three graphic displays--in the instrument cluster, the head-up display and on the passenger's side--use the same control unit to present different information. This networking ensures the man-machine-interface, colors, and screen brightness are precisely matched to one another, increasing the efficiency of the system, while improving cost effectiveness,” Sanderson explains.

Driving-related data are presented through the head-up display and the twin-tube instrument cluster. The central display in the center cockpit module provides non-essential data, such as air-conditioning and audio system settings. The driver can access these functions through the feedback knob located on the center console.

An 8.8-inch display outside the driver’s viewing range allows the front seat passenger to watch movies on the DVD player or surf the Internet.

“The passenger also can enter a new route and then pass it on to the driver,” Sanderson says.

Via millivolt-range voltage measurements, the system can detect whether the entry was made by the driver or the passenger, preventing the accidental switching of functions. The system also registers driver or passenger location-specific cabin temperature change input automatically.

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