Case Study: Benefits of Automated Testing for Driver's Instrument Displays

By: Nextgen | On: Sep 07, 2023 | In: Case Studies

Case Study:

Benefits of Automated Testing for a Driver's Information Panel 


The heart of a vehicle's dashboard, the driver's information panel, is a critical piece of automotive real estate. It unblinkingly conveys essential information about the vehicle's status, ensuring the driver remains well-informed about everything from the car's speed and performance to its engine, suspension modes, warning lights, and much more. Given the pivotal role this panel plays in ensuring safety on the roads, rigorous testing is mandatory. Yet, the complexity involved, thanks to varying regulations across countries and the sheer permutation of test cases, is daunting. Enter automated testing - a game-changer that promises efficiency, accuracy, and around-the-clock operations.

The Case for Automated Testing

Gone are the days when automated testing was limited to scripted, rigid formats. Today codeless methods of creating automated test sequences, coupled with advancements like control over external lab equipment, cobots, and intelligent vision systems, have revolutionised automated testing for the digital cockpit. Testing the driver's instrument panel, with its multiple functionalities and nuances, stands to gain immensely from this evolution in test automation.

The merits of automated testing are extensive:

  • Efficiency: By leveraging macro-based test sequences, numerous test variations can be derived from a single template.
  • Repeatability & Consistency: The consistency of machines ensures tests are carried out uniformly every single time.
  • Scalability: As automotive companies grow and diversify, automated tests can easily be scaled to meet newer requirements.
  • Flexibility: Platforms like Nextgen ATAM Connect exemplify modern testing's adaptability. These systems effortlessly blend manual and automated testing, offering a seamless experience. Not to forget, with ATAM Connect's vision system, it's now possible to visually recognise icons, warning symbols, and driver information, a glimpse of which can be seen in the accompanying video.

drivers info panel testing

Testing the Driver's Information Panel: A Breakdown

A typical driver's instrument panel testing plan could encompass a staggering 712 tests. This spans across areas like screen projection support, multimedia functions, vehicle speed, warning indicators, lighting, and more. From this total, a least 540 tests, or 76%, can be transitioned to automated testing. A notable change with automation? Each test was conducted ten times, a significant step-up from the singular test run in manual formats.

Calculating the Return on Investment (ROI)

For automotive quality teams the return on investment in automation soon becomes clear:

  • Total Test Cases: 714
  • Automated Test Cases: 540 (76%)

Surprisingly, even with the ten-fold increase in iterations of each test, simultaneously checking the function and consistency of each feature , automated testing clocked in at just 21% of the time taken by manual methods. This translates to an efficiency saving of over 75%.

Advantages in Automated Testing

A high ROI is not merely a quantitative metric; it signifies the comparative efficiency of automated testing. By adopting automation:

  • Operational costs significantly decrease over time, facilitating the introduction of new test variants and permutations with ease.
  • Precision is enhanced, reducing the potential for human errors.
  • A rapid feedback loop is established, accelerating development and iterations.
  • Comprehensive test coverage is ensured, which is crucial for critical functions such as power train, vehicle speed and warning indicators.

Challenges and Considerations

Despite the advantages of automation, there remain challenges:

  • Recognising specific tests that may not be suitable for automation, such as Diagnostic Specifications with a 0% automation rate.
  • The reliability of automated tests is of utmost importance.
  • As functions within the driver's information panel advances, there's a consistent need for the maintenance and update of test cases.


The merit of automated testing for high complexity use cases such as instrument information panels is undeniable, and striking a balance between automation, manual testing and human expertise are pivotal. Automation releases  development and engineering teams to focus on analysis and innovation. As we look forward, automated testing of in-car information displays promises unprecedented advancements. For the automotive industry's professionals, it's more than just a trend, it's the future. 

To see the Nextgen ATAM Connect automation platform in action. Check out the video showcasing how automated CAN messages are used to alter vehicle states and test the driver's information panel.

For more information about our testing services and how Nextgen can support your product development, please contact us today or call +44 3331 120 000.


New call-to-action

Share this post on:

Share on facebook

Share on linkedin

Share on twitter