The company developing and manufacturing a high performance vehicle had an aspiration to incorporate a state of the art communications system within for their latest model. They engaged a specialist to develop a completely touch screen digital dashboard that retained the functionality of the existing analogue dashboard and incorporated additional connectivity for modern communications devices, navigation systems and display technology. The resultant system had to be suitable for installation within a restricted space envelope as the original analogue dashboard, mounted directly behind the touch screen and present a completely intuitive interface.
Their knowledge of the development process, the cost of marketing and the successful vehicle pricing structures informed and influenced their stipulated acceptable costs that could be absorbed within the overall development costs. It was clear that development of the digital dashboard could only be considered successful if it satisfied the commercial requirements as well as the technical ones. Further, failure to meet the cost criteria would preclude the potential negotiation of a contract to supply production units for incorporation within the final vehicle.
The first prototype suffered with excessive noise pick up from the LCD screen and poor signal quality from the DAB reception module necessitating redesign of some aspects of the system. Subsequent iterations of design, analysis and testing demonstrated improved functionality and reliability. Working with the specialist supplier we were able to demonstrate that this project met the requirements of the BIS Guidelines and qualified for a tax credit under the SME R&D relief scheme.