Ever since I saw the digital speedometer on my uncle's early 90's Mitsubishi as a kid, I've always been fascinated with how dashboards would evolve. More and more we are seeing cars opting for digital displays over analog, and incorporating all sorts of transport telematics into the car's computer. Saab for example have recently debuted its Android-based touchscreen entertainment and navigation system IQon, in its 2011 Phoenix concept car.
As cars become more digital, we will see the design of dashboards move from the hands of industrial designers to involve UI designers.
Designing for cars has its own set of unique challenges. As a safety-critical product a strong emphasis must be placed on safety considerations and transport psychology, which explains the human behaviour in traffic situations.
It's unlikely that cars will move towards using heads-up displays, since cars are used for both a practical reasons as well as for leisure. HUDs are usually reserved for military vehicles where obscuring the view is less of a concern.
Here's a look at some concept car dashboards that explore the use of digital displays.