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INTERVIEWHUMAN CONNECTIVITY

Styling + Human Connectivity

According to Eclipse Cross program director Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Eclipse Cross is an SUV with coupé styling, not a coupé with SUV styling. It may look like a coupé, but it's an SUV to the core. The development team strove to merge a stylish exterior with superior functionality.

“We were expected to combine the best characteristics of a coupé and an SUV," said Mr. Nakamura, Assistant Manager of Vehicle Packaging Planning Department, "but this was easier said than done. To refine the shape, we produced a full-sized mock-up and spent countless hours making millimeter-precise adjustments with designers to achieve both style and functionality."
For example, perfecting the position and thickness of the horizontal bar dividing the rear window was a challenge. "When rearward visibility was clear for a driver turning around in his seat, it was unclear for a driver using the rearview mirror," explained Mr. Fukui, Vehicle Component Engineer. So the team tried to reposition the bar over 10 times to get it just right. Even a 1-millimeter difference significantly affected the view of objects far behind the vehicle.
For styling, the development team initially made the side sills stand out from the body in sharp relief. But this adversely affected leg placement for passengers exiting the vehicle, so they created a stylish door garnish instead. It helps passengers comfortably enter and exit without rubbing their legs on the car. To improve visibility, the door mirrors were attached directly to the doors and the head restraints were designed to collapse when not in use.

Interface Operability

In-vehicle infotainment is becoming increasingly important to drivers, but drivers also appreciate a balance of style and functionality. The stylish Liquid Crystal Display in the center of the dashboard is painstakingly refined to optimize the human machine interface. It features a touch panel positioned where the driver can view it with minimal eye movement, and a Touchpad Controller placed within easy reach.
In-vehicle infotainment is becoming increasingly important to drivers, but drivers also appreciate a balance of style and functionality. The stylish Liquid Crystal Display in the center of the dashboard is painstakingly refined to optimize the human machine interface. It features a touch panel positioned where the driver can view it with minimal eye movement, and a Touchpad Controller placed within easy reach. This makes the display compatible with both the US market where touch screens are preferred and the European market, which favors touchpad controller. To improve operation and legibility, the team watched videos of various drivers operating the touch panel. When the drivers encountered difficulties, the team reexamined and adjusted the operation logic, character legibility, icon size, etc. until they achieved better results.
This makes the display compatible with both the US market where touch screens are preferred and the European market, which favors touchpad controller. To improve operation and legibility, the team watched videos of various drivers operating the touch panel. When the drivers encountered difficulties, the team reexamined and adjusted the operation logic, character legibility, icon size, etc. until they achieved better results. The Head Up Display further raises driving safety, but it was initially adopted for other reasons. "Our design and product planning teams proposed adding a Touchpad Controller and Head Up Display because they are leading-edge and stylish" admitted Mr. Torii, Assistant Manager of Product Planning Department. "But our engineers suggested concrete, optimized solutions that produced something 'WOW'. For example, we made the combiner foldable because some people won't want to use the Head Up Display. And we added a black storage lid to protect the combiner from dust and prevent it from reflecting light on the windshield. These were spontaneous suggestions from the engineers. From a planning point of view, the costs were challenging, but having engineers make suggestions from a customer-centric perspective was quite encouraging,”
The Head Up Display further raises driving safety, but it was initially adopted for other reasons. "Our design and product planning teams proposed adding a Touchpad Controller and Head Up Display because they are leading-edge and stylish" admitted Mr. Torii, Assistant Manager of Product Planning Department. "But our engineers suggested concrete, optimized solutions that produced something 'WOW'. For example, we made the combiner foldable because some people won't want to use the Head Up Display. And we added a black storage lid to protect the combiner from dust and prevent it from reflecting light on the windshield. These were spontaneous suggestions from the engineers. From a planning point of view, the costs were challenging, but having engineers make suggestions from a customer-centric perspective was quite encouraging,”

Integration with Smartphones

The team also focused on making the vehicle highly compatible with smartphones. Many people want to use familiar smartphone features in their cars. So both Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto are accommodated.
The interior is basically black with soft padding pleasant to the touch. Silver accents on decorative components were carefully adjusted in position and length to make sure they don't reflect on the windshield. Even the beautiful self-illuminating meters were initially considered a problem because they reflected on the door windows. But the team resolved that issue by subtly adjusting the shape of the meter cluster. The most important point regarding visibility was the front pillar shape, which can affect safety. Through repeated trial and error, a cross-sectional shape was constructed that minimizes blind spots while maintaining rigidity and strength.
Development of the Eclipse Cross was largely a challenge of achieving seemingly conflicting benefits. For example, the interior is stylish, but visibility is good. And the user interface is new, but easy to understand. The team was also forever conscious of the need to "provide security and safety worthy of Mitsubishi Motors."
As for the infotainment system, there is always the temptation to add lots of new functions, even if incomplete, and provide updates at a later date. But Mr. Sakai, Manager of Multimedia Development, reminded his team, “automobile manufacturers should strive to provide features that are perfect because people's lives are at stake." Indeed, the ability to move people makes cars fundamentally different than PCs and smartphones.

CAST

ATSUSHI TORII ( Assistant Manager, Product Planning Dept. ) / TAKUO NAKAMURA ( Assistant Manager of Vehicle Packaging Planning Dept. ) / TAKESHI FUKUI ( Engineer of Vehicle Component Engineering, Vehicle Testing Dept. ) / GORO OKAZAKI ( Japan's leading automotive journalist ) / TAKAHIRO HIBINO ( Vehicle Component Engineering, Vehicle Testing Dept.) / MITSUTAKA TANASE ( Expert of Vehicle Component Engineering, Vehicle Testing Dept. ) / OSAMU BANNO ( Assistant Manager of Vehicle Component Engineering, Vehicle Testing Dept. ) / KUNIHIRO SAKAI ( Manager of ADAS & Communication Development Dept. )

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