Bentley’s rotating digital/analog display explained

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Bentley feels that its novel, rotating display, featured in the new Flying Spur and the Continental GT, is the modern, technically focused interpretation of the company’s founding philosophy of unrivalled craftsmanship. It has now explained how the three-sided display, with over 150 parts and tolerances less than 0.5mm, was brought from concept to reality.

Bentley’s design team created a centrepiece to the cabin which gives users the ability to choose between a main 12.3in infotainment touchscreen, a set of three analog gauges (outside air temperature, a compass and a chronometer) or a book-matched piece of veneer.

The display took more than three years to develop from initial concept, and the mechanism powering the screen allows alignment of each face to a +/-0.3mm tolerance. To achieve this level of precision requires 40 moving components, including custom rotational and linear gearbox drive units, mated to high-refinement motors controlled by a dedicated electronic control unit (ECU).

To provide the rotation while maintaining extremely tight clearances (less than 0.5mm for each of the sides), three separate but linked motions are required. The first motion retracts the unit into the dashboard to provide clearance for the second stage – rotation – before the unit motors forward back in to position.

Furthermore, to maintain tolerances, the drive system is self-teaching – the controlling ECU not only learns the mechanism’s physical extents in all deployment positions, but also uses intelligent speed control to vary the speed of the motors to adjust for variances in mechanical friction and the impact of battery voltages changes.

Within the mechanism there are a pair of independent fans which help keep the main touchscreen cool in all climates, up to ambient temperatures of 50°C. Bentley also noted that the ECU allows the rotation speed and position refinement to be constantly managed to ensure constant quality performance no matter the climate the vehicle is operating in.

As a legal requirement the image from the reversing camera needs to be displayed within two seconds of reverse gear being selected. This proved one of the largest challenges for the engineering team, and required significant development of the communication signals from the gearbox to the BRD mechanism to ensure the image is displayed on the infotainment screen within the necessary timescale.

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