Stuttgart. VDI/VDE-Gesellschaft Mess- und Automatisierungstechnik has awarded Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, the USEWARE Award 2008 for the development of the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM). PCM has been developed as the central control unit for all audio and communication features in Porsche cars and is already available in both the Cayenne and the new generation of the 911. Further model series will follow.
In particular, the new PCM stands out through simple, straightforward, rapid and easy control of all relevant functions.
Awarding this special prize once a year, the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI) expresses its particular recognition of very user-friendly systems developed to an excellent standard. The award was presented to Porsche AG on the occasion of the USEWARE 2008 VDI Conference in Baden-Baden on 15 October.
The main feature of the new generation of PCM is the touchscreen serving to integrate keys such as the number buttons which previously used to be next to the screen. Introducing this new concept, Porsche’s development engineers are offering several advantages all in one: Compared with the former model, the number of control keys has been halved to a total of just 16, providing extra space for an increase in size on the colour screen from 5.8 to 6.5 inches. A further significant point is that touchscreen control allows quick, intuitive and appropriate communication with the PCM control unit, reducing control times by at least one-half and thus minimising any possible distraction from traffic conditions. So while a user used to take, say, 60 seconds to enter the address of his destination with a conventional rotating/push button, the time required now is only 20 seconds.
Porsche’s development engineers have furthermore chosen a very logical and clear style of presentation for optimum menu guidance: They have retained the basic logic of the menu structure in order to offer the experienced Porsche customer quick and convenient orientation. A further point is that the driver and front passenger will find the most important functions in the respective main menu, while a number of functions used more rarely have been moved to the second menu level.
Optional voice control makes operation of the new PCM even easier and more straightforward, with minimum distraction. Apart from making entries in full words, the user is therefore able to enter navigation destinations or telephone numbers in a spoken dialogue.
Porsche’s new PCM is the result of a defined development process applied by Porsche’s engineers for all products used directly by the customer. This process now receiving the USEWARE 2008 Award stands out in particular through its consistent orientation towards the user as well as its short and precise decision-making procedures.
Porsche’s technicians and other specialists responsible for electronic control systems are permanently confronted with the challenge to simplify control systems for the user despite their increasing complexity of functions. Conducting a wide range of interviews and tests, they first analyse and assess user behaviour in order to adjust the systems developed to the customer’s expectations.
One example is that in developing the new generation of PCM the engineers carefully examined how Porsche drivers have so far entered their destinations in the navigation system, determining in the process that 90 per cent of all users prefer the presentation of maps in the manual mode. Hence, the new PCM system now changes automatically to the presentation of clear and easy-to-read maps.
Useware engineering is a relatively young science focusing on the analysis and configuration of control systems in accordance with the user’s specific needs. Uncompromising user-orientation, on the other hand, has always been an important factor in Porsche development – and in many cases the origin for such straightforward development came from motorsport, where simple, straightforward and quick operation of all functions is an essential prerequisite to make a car successful on the track.
This was indeed also the reason why the ignition lock on a Porsche to this day is positioned on the left-hand side of the steering column, allowing drivers in the original Le Mans start to start the engine with their left hand and shift to first gear immediately with their right hand.