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Embedded HMI systems

  • Smart experience
  • Smart vehicle
  • Networking

Levers on the steering wheel, buttons on the armrest, buttons on the centre console: the car of the future will be having none of these. The more connected new generations of vehicles are, the more intuitively the driver will need to be to be able to operate the numerous vehicle functions. The watchword is: eyes on the road and hands on the wheel - although this only works if the on-board systems, infotainment and comfort technology are easy-to-use and do not create distractions. What is needed are new, intuitive operating concepts, such as those developed by AKKA Digital – formerly GIGATRONIK.

Away from the button and towards the touch-sensitive screen: this unstoppable trend in the automotive world clearly presupposes software and systems development know-how. This is because displays are not smart per se and only show information and control options provided to them by the vehicle management programmes contained in on-board electronics. The necessary input can be set up by AKKA Digital's specialists. They will bring to life the interfaces between human and machine i.e. human machine interfaces (HMI). Using agile development methods, model solutions can be created, which are tailored decisively to the application scenarios relevant to different models. For example, swiping technologies are used widely on touch panels and non-contact gesture recognition systems are also widespread. However, work is also ongoing on innovative head-up displays, which project contextual information onto the windscreen while the vehicle is being driven; or on natural voice control systems, which are no longer limited to a few preset commands. More information on current, embedded HMI developments can be found in the following interview.


  1. From holistic software and systems development to complex HMI solutions
  2. Innovative operating concepts and UI design
  3. Years of experience in the automotive sector
  4. Know-how transfer to other industries

“An integrated HMI system optimizes lifecycles.”

Interview with Daniel Obrenovic, Software Engineer Mobile and HMI Development, at GIGATRONIK in Cologne.


Daniel Obrenovic
Software Engineer Mobile and HMI Development
AKKA Digital Cologne

How will we be operating cars in the future?

The classic elements are soft-switching, integrated displays. What will be possible in the future is demonstrated right now by our exceptional solutions in the premium business segment. For example, this segment features an embedded systems platform already in use and developed by us, which enables various devices within the vehicle to be operated. Every seat has a touch-control panel mounted on it, which can be used to configure amenities, such as massage functions, ventilation and seat position. Conversely, the display will also show configurable status images for seat functions. This means not only more comfort, but other advantages too: an integrated HMI system looks chic, makes functions easier to experience than an analogue control unit and optimizes the vehicle's lifecycle, as it can be updated.

How do you support your customers on these types of development projects?

We support innovations in the automotive environment, from software and systems development to complex HMI solutions. This starts at a very early project stage when we develop the list of specifications, which we deliberately keep very short. Taking this as a basis, we carry out both initial and implementation research and then we implement basic features. In the case of user interfaces and HMI, a major focus is on design and corporate identity. That's why our team always has at least one UI designer on-board, who can then adapt the respective software to the look and the feel required by the customer. Another focus is on connectivity with other control units or hooking up sensors. Because our software is one hundred percent "Made in Germany", we have the ability to produce successive release cycles and to involve our customers closely in our work, throughout the development phase.

»An integrated HMI system looks chic, makes functions easier to experience than an analogue control unit and optimizes the vehicle's lifecycle, as it can be updated.«

Daniel Obrenovic

What technical background do you and your teammates have?

As an independent development partner in the fields of electronics and software, ever since the GIGATRONIK site in Cologne (now AKKA Digital) was founded in 2007, we have been working with model-based application software and other, basic software for control units and embedded devices. In the automotive sector, we have long, solid experience in networking systems and inter-connecting communications interfaces. This expertise is applied to other sectors, and we are constantly actively using it for just this purpose. This is because future issues in the automotive area, such as control by gestures or facial recognition are cross-sector in nature: they are part of the "Connected World" and are becoming more significant in other industries all the time.