It can tell if the driver seems grumpy or drowsy, adjust the music to town through which you’re traveling, assist in finding a parking space and paying for it, let you know if you’re in the correct lane for your intended route, adjust the headlights for nighttime driving conditions and provide song lyrics if you or your passengers are feeling the urge for karaoke.
Those are some of the key features of the Inca Jay digital cockpit of the future developed by Filament Labs, the newly formed Advanced Engineering arm of Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, Inc.
“We developed the Inca Jay automotive cockpit platform with advanced ADA
On Monday, Forbes.com was given a detailed demonstration of Inca Jay’s capabilities at Mitsubishi Electric’s facility in Plymouth, Mich. near Detroit.
Before launching into the demo, Advanced Development HMI Principal Engineer Brian Debler held up what he called the “heart” of the system, Mitsubishi-designed board running the third generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platform, which uses Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY® real-time operating system.
“It’s a mid-tier operating system designed for mid-tier infotainment systems,” said Debler. “We demonstrating trends that will arrive in the next three-to-five years. We’re pushing the limits of what the board can do.”
“We can do AI (artificial intelligence) applications, we can do machine learning applications, we can do image processing. Those are all things in the past you couldn’t think about for mid-tier vehicles. added Michael Horani, Director/Advanced Development.
Starting with the driver monitoring system, or DMS, the Inca Jay improves on the system present in 2019-2022 model year vehicles with a more sensitive near-infrared, driver-facing camera.
“No matter the exterior lighting, whether day or night, it will still track your face and know where it is,” said Horani.
The idea is to improve safety by better understanding the disposition of the driver.
The camera detects driver drowsiness or sudden sickness based on facial expressions, for instance, if the driver’s eyes are closed or mouth is open. The DMS also monitors other body information that includes pulse and respiration rates and face-tracking and image-processing technologies detect slight variations in skin tone due to changes in heartbeat.
If Inca Jay’s DMS detects physical conditions that indicate the driver’s abilities may be compromised the system suggests the driver stop to rest, or can activate an automated emergency-parking function to prevent possible accidents. The camera can also detect the presence of occupants and determine the position of a passenger’s face and upper body skeletal points to accurately determine body size.
“If we’re detecting someone is really angry we can pare down notifications and recognize when they’re stressed. It’s about making more critical choices available for the user, rather than pushing at full speed,” said Debler.
While traveling at night Inca Jay’s high-definition locator (HDL) uses internal and external sensors to adjust headlights to adapt to curve and slope of the road along with where the driver is looking.
HDL is also key in enhancing other user interface functions including navigation and convenience features.
A custom version of the Tom Tom navigation system add functionality to location-based services. Paired with the PHIAR
“We can indicate whether you’re in the correct lane for whatever route you’re taking,” said Debler.
The PHIAR engine also indicates points of interest along the way, whether or not the driver is in the correct lane for his or her intended route, shows parking spaces and makes it possible to pay for that space.
Horani terms HDL as a “secondary ADAS input” declaring “We look at it as a stepping stone to full autonomy.”
Other innovative Inca Jay features include two directional microphone arrays that can capture what anyone in the vehicle saying and indicate on the display where the speaker is seated.
Sound intrusive? Horani says the mics aren’t there for snooping. Indeed, they have a useful function.
“Access to features depends on who is speaking,” explained Horani. “The driver has more power in the car to demand navigation versus a passenger in the back should have limited power to change instructions.”
It can also assist a forgetful occupant by providing a transcript of conversations or comments.
“You’ll be able to ask the system, what was I saying five minutes ago?” said Debler.
Like to sing along with the music playing on the audio system but no time to hit the karaoke bar? Inca Jay also include a technology called Lyric Find which grabs information from the song that’s playing and bring the lyrics up on a screen.
The home screen on the Inca Jay is completely customizable and can even be rotated from a horizontal to vertical position depending on the driver preference and information to be displayed.
The Inca Jay may be dubbed a cockpit of the future but some versions of its features are in use now with the most advanced perhaps three or four years away according to Debler and Horani.
While premium and luxury vehicles may already have even more advanced technologies, Mitsubishi Electric’s Inca Jay is designed to enhance the more modestly-priced vehicles that represent 60-70% of the market, according to Debler.
In fact, with a smile, Debler points out the features demonstrated in Inca Jay are aimed at leveling the playing field for mid-market cars and trucks that will never reach the levels of autonomy seen in higher priced vehicles, saying, “you’d see vehicles that are not autonomous getting smarter with more autonomous features.”