Cars are our second homes today, and why not? Thanks to the chaotic traffic and the perpetually busy roads in the country, an average urban commuter clocks in around 10 hours a week on road travel. It is only natural that he would want to improve the quality of time spent driving.
Hence the rise of in-car touchscreen-based infotainment systems. From a good-to-have accessory, today infotainment system has become one of the key decisive factors in the selection of a car.
While the touchscreen-based infotainment systems came pretty soon after touchscreen-based smartphones, the purpose and design are obviously different. Since the driver can’t give too much attention to the system, the display should be easily viewable, interactive and accessible. With user experience as the key feature, touchscreen infotainment systems have come a long way to the current capacitive screens from the older, annoying resistive ones. Capacitive screens provide improved optical quality and better resolution, making for a better and easier-to-use setup. In the most well-designed cars, the system is positioned so that it is easy-to-see and in the line of sight of the driver. It also has a bigger screen for easier readability.
The positives are obvious – easier and faster access to functionalities that help the driver stay connected with the world and also drive better.
However, detractors have a different (and fair) story to tell. The AAA Foundation makes a valid point that the driver’s attention is distracted from the wheel while accomplishing tasks like calling, tuning the radio, programming navigation or sending a text message. No prizes for guessing what the possible outcome can be! A distraction of even a few seconds can lead to a fatal accident. Also, some features of the infotainment systems are complex/tedious, frustrating the driver. Not to forget, features like checking social media, web surfing, sending texts, etc, distract a driver and should be removed completely. Further, the perfectionist auto enthusiasts feel that touchscreens lack the instinctive connect and the tactile feel that a button or knob offers.
The Way Ahead
Just like other areas of technology, Voice Command is the next big thing here too. Carmakers and technology companies are investing a lot of time and money to fine-tune the Voice Command feature to take care of the negatives and aid drivers in staying safe. With advancement in connectivity technology and growth of the global automobiles industry, we will continue to see the rise of infotainment systems. The only thing necessary is to use it with discretion.