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DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 5, 2018 – They studied snowflakes and star placement, clouds and constellations. Designers at The Lincoln Motor Company researched everything and anything atmospheric to create stunning graphics for the all-new Navigator’s Lincoln drive modes technology.
Concurrently, engineers targeted sight, sound, touch and feel through Navigator’s steering, suspension, powertrain and torque delivery to tailor its ride and handling for all weather conditions – ensuring clients experience an effortless, first-class journey.
By working together, Lincoln’s design and engineering groups created elegant, intuitive technology that showcases both beauty and capability.
Drivers choose their information through six consumer-friendly modes. All are controlled by a knob easily accessed at the center console.
Three modes are terrain and weather-related:
The other three are based on the type of ride the driver desires:
The information shown in the cluster changes depending on what mode the client selects. The most relevant information is always present for the driver.
For instance, in normal mode a speedometer is present, while in the conserve setting, the speedometer is combined with fuel economy information.
“The beauty of these drive modes is they’re intuitive and easy to use,” said Andrew Kernahan, chief engineer, The Lincoln Motor Company. “You don’t have to know how each drive mode is developed, or adjust suspension settings or powertrain mapping. You just have to turn the dial, and the behavior of the vehicle is modified to fit the conditions or desired experience.”
Designed around the theme “Navigation through the Stars,” each drive mode is showcased through intricately detailed graphics while communicating capability. The graphics are displayed only briefly on the cluster so as not to distract, but to assure clients the mode is adjusted correctly.
“As a reference in our research, we looked at everything nebula, Northern Lights and various atmospheric types of conditions,” said Craig Sandvig, digital experience design manager, The Lincoln Motor Company. “We wanted to pay homage to the Earth.”
Sandvig, who began working in digital design six years ago, believes the modes offer a perfect example of digital clusters – intricate globe-shaped artwork showcased with just the push of a button. Getting to that point, however, took several trial runs.
“We worked with hundreds and hundreds of different globes, studying everything from where each cloud would come in and how it would separate from the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s an artistic effect that’s been brought into everything.”
Subtlety was key in creating a luxury feel for each mode, and that’s highlighted throughout the detailing – down to the reflections on each globe. For example, the image in excite mode, representing sporty driving, shows taillights moving in the night to illustrate the thrill of the drive. The look and feel of excite mode exudes a dimensionality that makes clients feel like they’re driving inside the graphic image itself.
For both deep conditions and slippery modes, the team studied placement for each individual snowflake. Deep conditions demonstrates a tire spinning in deep snow, while slippery uses snowflakes and reflections with complex detail down to the lines in the roadway – creating the look and feel of an icy drive.
“It’s amazing to see how much went into the development of slippery mode – we wanted to show the snowflakes going from the front of the globe to the back,” said Sandvig. “We went through several trials for this mode to make sure clients could see the road, so we included dashed lines with certain reflections to give that icy road feel.”
Sandvig said moving into the digital space has allowed the team to create much more detailed imagery for clients, providing technology that’s easy to understand and use.
“The digital space allows us to change and animate things that are not possible within the physical world,” he said. “We were able to create anything we wanted – the modes aren’t required to be static – and we feel that it’s much more rewarding to our clients.”