Automotive parts suppliers 3M and Visteon recently held an event where they previewed a number of new vehicle interface technologies – 40 new features to be exact – in front of vehicle designers, engineers and employees from three different continents. Two different concept interiors where showcased, one for North America and one for Europe, and while the styling was different on each model the underlying technology remained similar. The focus of the futuristic interiors lay in the center panel, which served as a base of operations for the vehicle.

Rather than having a center console full of buttons, the dash shows an elegant black panel when it is not in use. Through the use of proximity sensors, when you put your hand near it the console lights up and the functions are illuminated and a 'Human-Machine Interface' is revealed.

However, a console that lights up when you put your hand near it isn't the only development. The minds at 3M have also developed a special optical film in the backlight of the display that allows a single display to show both 3-D and 2-D graphics - for example, gauges in 2-D and street navigation in 3-D.

Another major feature was an ‘augmented-reality system’ - the technical name for projections onto the car's windscreen, such as speedometer and navigational information. While some production cars already have these, the system has been developed to incorporate new features in order to aid in the driving process.

One of the most practical features shown was a 'recharging' pad, basically an area where you could put your phone and conceivably other rechargeable products, and they would be charged without the use of wires.