New Ways to Interface With Cars

This article is based on a story that originally appeared in It Is Innovation (i3) magazine, published by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®.

Overview As the evolution of vehicles continues, new features are aligning the car environment with how consumers interact with other technologies.

From large built-in touch screens to smart temperature control and virtual assistants, vehicle interfaces are being reimagined.

Enhancing Visual Controls and Entertainment

One concept for in-car visuals is a large dashboard display controlled by screens throughout the vehicle.

The dashboard display in BYTON’s M-Byte electric SUV is 48 inches and curved, comprising three separate content areas. To control the display, the driver can use the 7-inch driver tablet that sits at the center of the steering wheel or the 8-inch touch pad in the center console.

For passengers in the back seats, there are rear-seat screens that allow them to share content with the dashboard display.

Instead of using the car as the operating system, Honda is integrating the car with a suite of apps controlled by the passenger’s phone. Called “Honda Dream Drive: Passenger,” this app offers games, movies, music, original comics, travel applications and remote control of the vehicle’s radio — all from the passenger’s mobile device. 

Audi is also looking to improve in-car entertainment but is experimenting with using the car itself to make movies or TV more immersive. With the Audi Immersive In-Car Entertainment concept, when the vehicle is not moving, seat vibrations, sound and interior light animations, as well as suspension movements — such as lifting, lowering, pitching, wavering and shaking — that match video sequences can enhance the entertainment experience.

Anticipating Passengers’ Needs

Unlike the various touch screens BYTON is using, Mercedez-Benz is exploring how to remove touch with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience Interior Assistant. As a hand approaches the touchscreen in the dashboard or the touchpad on the center console, the interior assistant recognizes in-air hand motions and controls the vehicle functions displayed on the car’s in-dash display screen, according to the active menu.

Mercedez-Benz’s interior assistant can also distinguish between the driver’s hand and the front passenger’s hand to identify who needs localized functions, such as a seat’s massage function.

Kia is trying to provide the optimal cabin environment by using artificial intelligence to sense a driver’s emotional state through facial expressions, heart rate and electrodermal activity. They’re calling the system R.E.A.D., or Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving.

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