Lincoln Navigator’s Digital Direction

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator—the 2018 North American International Truck of the Year—features a 12-inch configurable gauge cluster.

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator—the 2018 North American International Truck of the Year—features a 12-inch configurable gauge cluster. And one of the interesting things that can be briefly seen on the screen are highly detailed digital renderings that signify terrain/weather modes—as in deep snow or sand, slick surfaces, or steep inclines—and drive modes—normal, conserve, excite. Each of these six categories, which is selectable via a dial, has its own graphics, based on natural images.

Lincoln Drive Modes

As Craig Sandvig, digital experience design manager at Lincoln, put it, “As a reference in our research, we looked at everything--nebula, Northern Lights and various atmospheric types of conditions. We wanted to pay homage to the Earth.”

The overall theme they used for execution was “Navigation through the stars,” presumably having a little something to do with the name of the vehicle.

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And they spent a considerable amount of time working to achieve fidelity: “We worked with hundreds and hundreds of different globes, studying everything from where each cloud would come in and how it would separate from the atmosphere,” Sandvig said.

When put in the slick surface mode, for example, there are snowflakes and detailed reflections on the screen. Sandvig: “It’s amazing to see how much went into the development of slippery mode – we wanted to show the snowflakes going from the front of the globe to the back. We went through several trials for this mode to make sure clients could see the road, so we included dashed lines with certain reflections to give that icy road feel.”

Incidentally: it is not all show and no go.

When a setting is dialed in, the setups of the vehicle systems are adjusted accordingly.

Andrew Kernahan, Lincoln chief engineer: “The beauty of these drive modes is they’re intuitive and easy to use. You don’t have to know how each drive mode is developed, or adjust suspension settings or powertrain mapping. You just have to turn the dial, and the behavior of the vehicle is modified to fit the conditions or desired experience.”

But it does look great, as well.

2018 Lincoln Navigator