Font Technology: Making Type Work

Advanced tools are required to render, scale, optimize and display digital type on any screen within an automobile. Without this technology, type is simply an artful collection of interesting shapes. With it, type becomes a powerful communication tool. Important tools include:

Font Rendering: The translation of a type design into pixels, font rendering can differ significantly between systems and font formats — even within a single vehicle and its connected devices. Rendering typically incorporates multiple processes, such as font shaping and font tuning.

Font Shaping: In complex non-Latin scripts such as Arabic, Hindi and Thai, the process of glyph selection, combining and reordering is known as “shaping,” and varies greatly between languages. Shaping technology handles character shaping and bidirectional rendering, ensuring accurate and legible display, allowing automakers to expand their product offerings across global regions.

Font Tuning: Display screens within an automobile use many different kinds of displays, all with varying resolutions and characteristics. Tuning technology provides the ability to make precise adjustments to the darkness and sharpness of a glyph, ensuring that text appears clearly at any size, relative to the specific characteristics of the display.

Font Linking: This allows developers to remove data redundancy and more flexibly manage the memory of an automotive HMI processor. Fonts of different weights, styles and languages can be linked without altering the characteristics of the original component fonts. For example, to provide automotive HMI users access to bold and non-bold characters from diverse typefaces, developers would typically need to duplicate both Latin and non-Latin character sets. Through font linking, just one implementation of the non-Latin character set is required, linking to both the non-bold and bold Latin fonts.

Font Compression: Compression technology breaks down complex typefaces and characters to their basic strokes and components, enabling font files to be compressed to a fraction of the size of traditionally hinted fonts. A major benefit to automakers who are often faced with limited amounts of onboard CPU memory, this technology minimizes memory usage for font data storage where both ROM and RAM savings are critical.

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