Kia Sonet’s digital instrument cluster is a Visteon unit

by Sricharan R 26 Aug 2020


Global Tier 1 supplier Visteon is on a roll in India. Following the debut of its cockpit technology in the new Hyundai Creta SUV in March this year, Visteon is also a supplier to the recently revealed and soon-to-be-launched Kia Sonet, the Korean carmaker’s third product in the Indian market.

One of the highlights of the Sonet compact SUV, which has a number of segment-first features, is Visteon’s digital instrument cluster. Aashish Bhatia, Country Head, Visteon India, has confirmed commencement of supplies of the colour multi-information display (MID) unit to the latest Kia model in India, to Autocar Professional. The Chennei-based Tier 1 supplier also provides the digital instrument cluster to the popular Kia Seltos.

"Instrument clusters are becoming increasingly digitised and play a key part in the wider industry trend of bigger, higher-resolution and immersive displays that are proliferating the cockpit. Visteon looks to lead the transition in this space and providing the first digital cluster to Kia's compact SUV is another significant step that establishes our commitment to delivering advanced cockpit electronics solutions in a major region for automotive," said Aashish Bhatia.

Manufactured at Visteon's plant in Chennai, India, the Sonet's thin-film transistor (TFT) possesses a digital-type speedo gauge with LED-based illumination gauges, while product functionality also delivers a tire pressure monitoring system and drive/fraction mode selection.

Other mechanical highlights for the cluster include a three-applique design, hidden pointer, and 3D effect on screen printing.

The 4.2-inch (10.66 cm) multi-information display in the new Kia Sonet presents important information to the driver in vivid colour and clarity, such as turn-by-turn navigation instructions and data from the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). It also displays toggle information between the various drive and traction modes available on the automatic variants of the Sonet. The 4.2-inch screen is seamlessly married to a digital speedometer and an analogue tachometer on the Sonet's instrument binnacle. 

Additionally, the Sonet, which is high on connectivity, offers 57 features under Kia's UVO connectivity suite that covers convenience, remote control, navigation, safety, security and vehicle management. This also includes Kia’s UVO Voice Assist feature, which responds to the greeting, “Hello, Kia.” This artificial intelligence-powered voice-recognition technology provides an enhanced, connected experience and can be used to operate multiple features: phone calls, weather information, time and date, Indian holiday information, media control, navigation control, climate control, and even finding out the latest cricket scores, and first-in- industry driver window up down through voice command.

For Visteon, the growing demand for the new Hyundai Creta, the Kia Seltos and speedy bookings for the just-revealed Kia Sonet spell a good business run. As OEMs in India, and the world over, look to synergise operations and enhance efficiencies, the growing footprint of the Hyundai-Kia combine in the Indian market.

Stretching the in-car connectivity envelope
Speaking to Autocar Professional last month on industry trends, new advances in connectivity and electronics, and the role of Visteon India's technical centre in the company's global scheme of things, Bhatia had said:  “Instrument clusters are becoming increasingly digitised. This trend will continue and critical safety information, such as forward-collision and lane-departure warnings as well as blind-spot assistance, can be conveyed to the driver quickly and reliably. With shrinking product development timelines, we see the industry leaning toward Android-based infotainment systems. Android is open source, offers a broader app ecosystem, has the world’s largest developer community, and enables rapid product development making it the preferred operating system for automotive.”

“The need for bigger, higher-resolution, immersive and intuitive mainstream displays will continue to grow, although OEM cost considerations will likely delay the adoption of OLED technology and expensive pillar-to-pillar displays globally.”

“The vehicle cockpit is evolving into a multi-display environment. Increasingly, multiple displays in the cabin are being integrated into a single module with a glass cover lens for improved look and feel, and with sensors for touch, proximity and gestures.”

“Visteon’s strategy is to lead the transition of the industry toward multi-display modules, and we are currently the leaders in key related technologies, such as optical bonding and the design and manufacture of curved glass cover lens.

Voice-based AI technology is becoming increasingly integrated into our daily lifestyle — Google Home and Amazon Alexa are the most popular global platforms currently utilising this innovative technology. They assist us by playing our favourite music, booking a cab or ordering food. Leading automakers have also begun to transform the cockpit by integrating speech recognition and smart assistant features to augment the user’s in-car experience.

“We have developed a strong AI competency in the areas of voice recognition. Our ‘Say ‘n Serve’ smart voice assistant is designed to use natural language for on- or off-board commands in the vehicle — such as moderating cabin temperature or selecting a different song on your infotainment system — without the need for Cloud connectivity.

“Our teams are constantly creating experiences that help cars communicate like humans, not the other way around. Building a natural and organic interface will help to create a more rounded and effective user experience, while also developing a bond of trust between the consumer and the in-vehicle system.”

ALSO READ: Full interview with Visteon India’s Aashish Bhatia