Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is working on exactly such an idea. Using the Lightweight Electronics in Simplified Architecture (LESA) technology that allowed the creation of flexible wearables and OLED TVs, the British company is hopeful one day it will open new possibilities for in-car screens and controls.
Simply put, LESA allows for electronics to be printed directly in structures. This could lead to the rise of curved screens fitted on the dashboard, but also the inception of digital display embedded in almost any surface, including wood.
“We believe LESA represents the future of vehicle electronics and will enable us to design and manufacture innovative, flexible and customisable cabins for our customers while also reducing weight and cost during production helping us reach Destination Zero,” said in a statement Ashutosh Tomar, Jaguar Land Rover Electrical Research Technical Manager.
JLR did not say how far it is from a workable product. The company did mention LESA was tested successfully on an overhead control panel prototype. Aside for the convenience of having a curved screen or displays on any surface, LESA also helps shed 60 percent of the weight of the part.
The system developed by JLR works by printing the electronic circuit onto the flat surface. The required components are then mounted directly onto the circuits. This is all done in CAD animated drawings and, once the piece is complete, it heads into production as a physical part.
More details on how LESA works can be found in the press release section below.