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https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/11/should-gestures-and-speech-take-over-from-touchscreens-in-our-cars/

One problem with all of these additions is that they can be a distraction from driving. Taking your eyes off the road is bad, and touchscreen interfaces are generally not conducive to developing "eyes-off" muscle memory, particularly if they lack haptic feedback. It's not that touch interfaces are inherently bad, but they do let designers get away with shipping poor user interfaces.

"The problem is that the touchscreen gives people a lot more flexibility in how they would create an interface, which can really quickly lead to complexity," said Mark Webster, director of product at Adobe and an expert on the use of voice in UI and UX design. "What was so fascinating to me about the Navy decision [to replace touchscreen bridge controls following two collisions] was that, I am sure if you look at that interface, it's very complicated. So it really probably isn't the touchscreen. That is in and of itself the problem," he said.

"If you use a touchscreen in a car that is complicated, it's distracting and not a good experience. But something like Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto, that is bringing in an interface that you're really familiar with, that feels natural, intuitive, that you're used to dealing with on your phone all the time. That's actually a place where I think the design of that interface in a touchscreen works really well for that," Webster said.
 

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I'm conflicted. I love Android Auto and it's definitely a huge improvement over trying to use a phone in its native mode. But it's definitely still worse than nothing. However with the value and complexity of stuff like Spotify, podcasts and navigation with traffic updates... it's a mixed bag.

The best I could see is using the dash or a big central HUD as the screen, with an I-Drive style controller and good voice controls to interface with it. But I feel like that genie is way out of the bottle. I don't think I could do a daily without Android Auto. TLX doesn't have it but I have a mount for my phone, and whenever my phone connects to the TLX's BT AA comes on automatically.
 

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I like knobs for the heater/fan/defrost stuff.

Stereo I like a real knob for the volume and mute. The rest of it is fine in a touchscreen IMO. I find myself fiddling with the screen/console LESS with android auto - compared to the factory navs.
 

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I don't know about anybody else, but although speech recognition seems to work fine when I'm in a quiet room, using even Google's AA speech recognition while in a car driving at highway speed seems to be a mixed bag. Speech recognition will need to get a lot better for people to get comfortable with never having to take their hands off the wheel and click on what they actually intended rather than what the speech recognition is trying to do.
 

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Ideally, the type of screen and design would fit the intended purpose of the car. I don't have iDrive in my BMW and I find it all the better for it. So I think it would be beneficial for sports/performance cars to use tech that isn't so obvious or distracting. The jeep has a fairly decent sized screen with could definitely be considered distracting, but it's not terrible. But I don't frequently drive it just for fun. And to the other comments, I really like android auto. My wife just upgraded her iphone and it appears we can also get carplay, so I look forward to spending some time with that. So far though, it seems that I'll like it as much as AA.


It would be interested to know what other form factors can be used for the various screen technologies to make them look/feel a little more like a traditional car interior. I like some of the touches audi has done with the current TT in that regard.

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My current car is the first one I’ve owned with a central touch screen (my previous car was a 2004 with a sea of buttons...), and it hasn’t really changed how I operate a car while driving. I personally never really futz with climate controls (I’ve changed settings maybe three times in the past year; auto climate works fine for me) other than heated seats/wheel, and my entertainment goes primarily through CarPlay which I don’t touch often either; I either use the steering wheel controls or voice recognition while I’m driving.

There are some hard buttons left in my car: there’s a volume button and all the “safety” controls are physical too: defrosters, hazards, mirror/window/seat controls and the like.

I like that the central screen in my car makes it easy to quickly see what’s playing or who might be calling. It doesn’t really make my car harder to deal with for me personally, but I could see how someone who tends to play with the controls more than I do might be worse off.
 

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I miss having knobs to control fan speed and vent settings. My Civic definitely has room in the dash to add knobs, but I imagine that it's cheaper to integrate those functions into the touchscreen than it is to add more physical controls. Unfortunately, manufacturers will probably continue adding more and more functions into one screen in order to reduce costs.
 

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I'm conflicted. I love Android Auto and it's definitely a huge improvement over trying to use a phone in its native mode. But it's definitely still worse than nothing. However with the value and complexity of stuff like Spotify, podcasts and navigation with traffic updates... it's a mixed bag.

The best I could see is using the dash or a big central HUD as the screen, with an I-Drive style controller and good voice controls to interface with it. But I feel like that genie is way out of the bottle. I don't think I could do a daily without Android Auto. TLX doesn't have it but I have a mount for my phone, and whenever my phone connects to the TLX's BT AA comes on automatically.
I've used CP in a few cars, and aside from something to keep track of time and distance on long drives, I don't really get why it's such a huge draw. As it is, my car is old-school and has redundant voice, touch, and button/knob control for pretty much everything. It's all easy and lag-free. It does phone things like routing with traffic, weather with radar (for some weird reason), etc. Doing a voice nav input is a bit clunkier than typing it in to a phone, but unless you're an Uber driver, it's not like typing in new destinations is a common occurrence. If you're just trying to get to work, home, etc. the fastest, just do a preset. That said, integrating AA/CP support into an older, sensibly designed interface like that would definitely make it more usable.

Anyway, as is always the answer to this complaint, touch screens have a place. They also have a not-place. What those are is up for debate, but knobs and buttons are undeniably easier for a lot of stuff, especially in a car. But screens are cheaper and trendy, so that's what we're going to get. I just wish they didn't look like '90s fiberglassed-in carputer installs... VW and MB are especially bad about this.
 

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Going to be great to see how these screens are holding up after 15 years too
Likely just fine.

People said this about fuel injection, ECU's, electronic HVAC controls, DBW throttle, ABS modules, direct injection, hybrid car batteries, can-bus electronics, etc, etc, etc, etc...

Everything in cars is becoming more reliable as time passes.

If anything screens remove complexity from cars.
 

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Likely just fine.

People said this about fuel injection, ECU's, electronic HVAC controls, DBW throttle, ABS modules, direct injection, hybrid car batteries, can-bus electronics, etc, etc, etc, etc...

Everything in cars is becoming more reliable as time passes.

If anything screens remove complexity from cars.
Completely agreed. :thumbup:
 

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Going to be great to see how these screens are holding up after 5 years too
Fixed that for you.

I saw a Nissan Versa today at the gas station. Busted up, piece of crap--and had Uber and Lyft stickers on it. Anyway, the next time you see that ratty old Kia or Versa or whatever, on its fourth BHPH owner who pretty much lives in it, imagine it having come with an all-screen interior from the factory--and imagine what it would be like now.
 

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Likely just fine.

People said this about fuel injection, ECU's, electronic HVAC controls, DBW throttle, ABS modules, direct injection, hybrid car batteries, can-bus electronics, etc, etc, etc, etc...

Everything in cars is becoming more reliable as time passes.

If anything screens remove complexity from cars.
When I see BMW's from 90's - 2000's with pixelated dashboards and radio's I can only imagine what's going to happen to a tablet like screen.



I think it's the opposite. When your digital odo got pixeled, oh well, at least your AC and radio still work (knobs & controls ftw) If you tablet sized touch screen goes fubar and you cant control your climate/heated seats/radio then that sucks...
 

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Screens aren't going anywhere. There have been OEM Nav/Audio units in cars for 20+ years now and I would bet almost every single new car on sale in 10 years will have a giant screen covering most of the dash from the drivers side to the center stack.

It will just become another thing to fix/replace down the road and people will adjust.

As for the distraction element - anything can be a distraction, even dash buttons and other passengers. We will adjust and use technology, for better or worse, to compensate for this fact (i.e. driver assistance systems).

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Going to be great to see how these screens are holding up after 15 years too
The screen in my damn near 20 year old BMW 740i was just fine. And a lot of the car's computer system went through that screen.

Fixed that for you.

I saw a Nissan Versa today at the gas station. Busted up, piece of crap--and had Uber and Lyft stickers on it. Anyway, the next time you see that ratty old Kia or Versa or whatever, on its fourth BHPH owner who pretty much lives in it, imagine it having come with an all-screen interior from the factory--and imagine what it would be like now.

A busted up POS is going to be a busted up POS regardless of screen or not or brand of car. A well taken care of example won't necessarily have any issues, as my above referenced BMW proved. There are plenty of beat up POS versions of that car out thre with all sorts of things wrong with them, but there are a ton of nice ones, too. No one's going to care about a base level Versa or Kia in 10-15 years anyhow. Those are ALWAYS going to be disposable cars.

As for screens, we are going to have them with the required back up cameras needing a place to display anyhow.
 

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When I see BMW's from 90's - 2000's with pixelated dashboards and radio's I can only imagine what's going to happen to a tablet like screen.



I think it's the opposite. When your digital odo got pixeled, oh well, at least your AC and radio still work (knobs & controls ftw) If you tablet sized touch screen goes fubar and you cant control your climate/heated seats/radio then that sucks...
That's very simple, you just control the climate inside your car using windows switches.
 

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I'm not sure about the standard to which car touchscreens are built, so take this with a grain of salt.

But just an example of touchscreen durability and reliability, the POS terminals in my restaurant use touchscreens, and one of them is well over 15 years old.

The software and computer has been updated, but the screen is going strong and still looks like new. Some quick math and I'm guessing that screen has had WELL over 60 million, hard, aggressive and abusive finger taps on it, and it's still going strong.:laugh: I can't think of any physical buttons/mecanisms that could reliably survive 60 million cycles without breaking.
 
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