Continental teams up with Leia

e technology company is currently developing a cockpit solution, the Natural 3D Lightfield Instrument Cluster, in cooperation with Silicon Valley company Leia Inc. that will bring the third dimension into upcoming automotive vehicles.

Lightfield displays are the next generation of medium allowing not only the comfortable perception of 3D depth, but also the rendering of highlights, sparkles and other complex light effects. The technology enables information to be safely presented to the driver in real-time.

“One of today’s greatest challenges in the automotive industry is to develop intelligent concepts for the human-machine interaction. To create solutions that enhance the driver experience and allow the driver to simply and effectively interact with the vehicle without becoming distracted from the road”, says Dr. Frank Rabe, head of business unit Instrumentation & Driver HMI at Continental, in a press release. “The new Lightfield display does not just bring the third dimension of the highest quality into the vehicle – the innovative technology also creates a new dimension of comfort and safety.”

On the way to automated driving, there will be more opportunities for the driver to engage in other activities such as video calling, internet browsing or watching shows and movies. “The car is clearly the next frontier for Mobile” says David Fattal, Leia Inc. co-founder and CEO. “To us it’s a bigger, more immersive version of a smartphone with full 3D awareness of its environment. It’s a logical place to deploy our growing Lightfield ecosystem of immersive gaming, video streaming, social sharing, or even e-commerce.”

Leia´s Lightfield technology used for Continental’s natural 3D display does not need a head-tracker camera. Moreover, passengers in the front and back seats can also clearly see the same 3D image from their seated positions – something that was previously not possible.

Continental is now adapting Leia’s technology for use in automotive vehicles. Until recently, either parallax barriers or lenticular techniques were used to achieve a glasses-free 3D effect. They achieve a 3D effect through a special method of blocking or refracting light. Parallax barrier systems, in particular, offer only a single user application by requiring a head tracker system to adjust the 3D views towards the observer´s exact head position.

“We are thrilled to tailor our Lightfield platform to automotive. By leveraging specific sensors’ data (Lidar, cameras) we will deliver premium applications as well as bring the mobile ecosystem into the car to create an enhanced driver’s experience.”, says Pierre-Emmanuel Evreux, Leia Inc. co-founder and president.

The new system is said to go into series production by 2022.