August 25, 2010

De-visualizing Data: The MINI Camden’s Mission Control dashboard tells you like it is

MINI introduces new technology

Clear concise data visualization can truly be a game-changer. The difficulty comes in finding the best way to present your KPIs in a way that is quickly and easily digested.

To celebrate 50 years of motoring mayhem, MINI has introduced Mission Control as part of its limited-edition Camden package. In their words: “By bringing the engine, HVAC and central systems to life via three distinct personalities, Mission Control sets the stage for the future of motoring.” Yes, they have moved the dashboard from eye-level to ear-level, letting you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Mission Control is MINI’s first stab at a useful (while still somewhat cute and quirky) voice-based presentation of car functions by either providing new information or duplicating operating information from the physical dashboard via three unique voices within the car; one personality for the engine, one for the HVAC and one for the central systems. And just like in real life, the three do interact with each other.

This is approach is almost like a mash-up of the Corvette HUD and a standard voice-based GPS system:  audio-only, but represents operating data in a way that lets you keep your eyes on the road in front of you.

The future of Mission Control? MINI has stated that this is only round one of the technology, with voices and personalities easily updated. So can we expect Mike Rowe telling you that you’re nuts for attempting that grade in your F-150 Raptor? Only time will tell.

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