Renault OpenR: touchscreen and technology, in a single solution

Renault OpenR: touchscreen e tecnologia, in un'unica soluzione thumbnail

The New Mégane E-TECH Electric OpenR display is undoubtedly the best innovation of Renault of recent years in terms of on-board technology. The glass panel, of unprecedented dimensions, adapts perfectly to the lines of the passenger compartment. The OpenR Link interface, based on Android OS and featuring a Google ecosystem, is as easy to use as a smartphone. And the result can be seen, as, using it, you can see that the fluidity of the screen is seven times higher than that of the previous generation! Marc, Renault’s Design Experience Director, invites us aboard for a super-intuitive digital journey.

If the first car to ever feature a touchscreen (the Buick Riviera) celebrated its 35th birthday last year, on-board electronics have evolved enormously since! Hardware performance, fluidity, constantly updated application efficiency, high definition screens, easy navigation, etc. There is one constant that catches the eye: in-vehicle multimedia is increasingly drawing inspiration from smartphones.

“The main challenge was to propose a solution that would allow the customer to find everything he needs, very quickly and intuitively” Marc, Director of Design Experience at Renault.

OpenR: an XXL screen

For greater modernity and visual comfort in the use of driver assistance devices, Renault has developed a new electronic architecture unprecedented on the market. New Mégane E-TECH Electric is the first vehicle to be equipped with it.

On board, it all translates into one very large digital space consisting of two displays mounted together in an “L” configuration. A 12 ”vertical screen, located in the center of the dashboard. «It is positioned in the best place to be seen and touched easily, to enjoy multimedia without losing sight of the road», explains Marc. And a 12.3 ”horizontal screen for the dashboard, located behind the steering wheel.

Between both, these screens cover an area of 774 cm2 for a visualization brought to the highest levels and an exclusive immersive experience. Worthy of the best premium sedans, they are simply the largest displays Renault has ever integrated in a vehicle.

This technical prowess coincides with the arrival of the brand new CMF-EV platform, dedicated to electric vehicles. It is thanks to this platform that the engineers were able, for example, to move the air conditioning unit into the engine compartment for gain space in the passenger compartment. This made it possible to thin the dashboard and integrate a floating display. The gearshift control and the MULTI-SENSE button have also been moved to the steering wheel to improve ergonomics and free up more space in the center of the passenger compartment and on the center console.

Se l ‘current trend of the automotive sector is to move towards solutions that focus everything on the screen, Renault has chosen another, more ingenious path: «We have kept some buttons under the central display of OpenR so that the important settings, such as adjusting the air conditioning, could be made physically. This chrome button bar integrates seamlessly into the interior thanks to its harmonious finish. Above all, avoid having unused “fake buttons” on the dashboard, as has often been seen in previous vehicle generations. “

These blank buttons, without icons, corresponded to options not provided on certain trim levels. On board the New Mégane E-TECH Electric, all option buttons – such as the heated steering wheel – are managed by the display.

OpenR: a new experience

Like the latest smartphones, even the display OpenR of Nuova Mégane E-TECH Electric is manufactured by Continental, with “Gorilla Glass” aluminosilicates. It is a tempered glass super tough to bumps and scratches, which durability is estimated at 15 years. It is subjected to anti-reflective and anti-fingerprint treatments. Around the screen, the very subtle contouring helps protect the edges. Thanks to the quality of the TFT panel, the HD resolution of 267 ppp (dots per inch) and the finish, the rendering is perfectly sharp. The dashboard display has also been fitted with an anti-glare filter and makes use of the advanced Microlouver technology, the same that we find in the privacy filters on our PC screens. This made it possible to eliminate the “visor” which usually protects the tachometer from the sun and streamlines the interior design. As for the brightness, “the panels adapt to the external light to facilitate reading and not to cause excessive strain on the user’s eyes”, underlines Marc.

The Google ecosystem

After taking a seat aboard the New Mégane E-TECH Electric, the user experiences aexperience similar to that of a smartphone perfectly integrated into the car. “The idea is to draw inspiration from the best practices that the customer is used to finding on their smartphone, so that they don’t have to learn how to use a new system,” adds Marc.

While Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are always available, the interface has been completely designed to avoid having to use the phone. Not only are all the proposed functions at your fingertips, but the system OpenR Link if you base your Android OS and offers familiar applications. “We collaborated with one of the industry champions: Google, to be able to count on all its know-how”. Indeed, among the available applications, there are key elements of the Google ecosystem, including Google Maps for navigation. “If the customer is used to using Google Maps on his phone, he will use it, in the same way, also on the car display but it will be even better, because the surface of this screen is about six times larger than that of a classic smartphone. . Definitely more comfortable to use behind the wheel ».

Google Maps was optimized to suit electric driving, for example, with the Electric Route Planner. Based on real-time vehicle data and information such as weather conditions, the system is able to suggest a stop, specifying the name of the electricity supplier of the column, the battery charge level when the customer reaches it or the time charging needed on site. It can also evaluate, at any time, the vehicle’s charging level when it reaches its destination.

Another plus is that the maps are regularly updated to be more and more precise. “Millions of users enrich Google’s database to continually improve it. We are dealing with a system that lives and grows, ”explains Marc.

The OpenR Link system is the result of the Renault’s decades of experience in displays and on-board technologies. «We have kept the overall concept of Renault EASY LINK, but capitalized on what we have learned from our customers. We have focused on simplification and value creation that revolves around technology. Today, 90% of the functions we need every day are accessible with a single click. And everything appears on the screen: there are no hidden pages ».

“Bold ideas”

How can the best multimedia services be integrated into the passenger compartment of a vehicle without sacrificing ergonomics and comfort? This is the fundamental question that Renault’s engineers and designers asked themselves as they worked on the design of the New Mégane E-TECH Electric. With a succession of bold ideas, they managed to integrate every element on board, in a harmonious way.

Let’s take the example of air vents. Integrating them was problematic for the “wall effect”That could create the large screens located nearby. The central display, in particular, given the vertical format, prevented the good diffusion of air above and below. Moving this screen higher or lower was not feasible. To combine design and thermal comfort, Renault has therefore produced air vents with “internal pulsation”. Not only do they integrate better between the two screens making them more discreet, but they direct the air into the passenger compartment with greater precision.

Another major challenge: the steering wheel. The right had to be found balance between manageability and compactness. If it was necessary for it to integrate many buttons, to streamline the center console, it did not have to cover, with its dimensions, the dashboard display so that the driver could comfortably read all the information. The designers therefore opted for a steering wheel smaller, squared off, with a slight flattening in the center to favor the driving pleasure and readability dashboard display.

Finally, the integration of the central display was a real headache. It had to be inserted the largest vertical display ever designed by Renault in a new design architecture. “In fact, it was a gamble from a stylistic point of view, as the display didn’t follow the horizontal orientation of the dashboard,” explains Marc. It is fought for maintain verticality of the screen in the center of the passenger compartment, as Renault has always done since 2014. “It is a choice for which we have taken responsibility. We had done this before, with Espace and Clio, and we continued with the New Mégane E-TECH Electric. Because we are convinced that it is the best solution from the point of view of legibility, especially for driving assistance and everything related to the navigation system ». Why a vertical and not a horizontal display? “When you surf, you need to know what is happening in front and not on the side! Similarly, if you consult very long playlists using software such as Spotify or Deezer, the vertical screen allows you to access multiple elements at the same time », concludes Marc.

John Vassallo is a versatile writer who covers two fascinating realms: Automobiles and Electronics. With a deep knowledge and passion for both industries, John brings you the latest updates, trends, and insights in these dynamic fields. From the latest car models, automotive innovations, and advancements in electric and autonomous technologies, to cutting-edge electronics, gadgets, and emerging tech trends, John's articles provide comprehensive coverage to keep you informed.