remove touchscreens from your cars to avoid distractions and accidents
The usual trend in the automotive world is to offer cars with hardly any physical controls: large touchscreens dominate the more futuristic models and advanced manufacturers, who, infected by this attractive appearance, have opted to integrate many of these devices in their latest models.
Fortunately, not all automotive greats are heading in that direction, and Mazda has announced that it is giving up those touchscreens that introduce clear risks– The driver has to look at and touch them to control them, which can lead to distractions and fatal accidents. They are removing them from their designs, instead betting mostly on buttons and dials that the driver won’t have to look to control.
Back to the (good) origins
As indicated in MotorAuthority, Mazda officials began to study the effects of touchscreens on safety behind the wheel, and that led to the current decision: eradicate these devices from your cars, a measure that will begin to be applied in 2019 to the new Madza 3.
This model will have a screen in the central part, but it is about an 8.8-inch version that moves away from the driver although it is slightly oriented towards him, something that according to Mazda allows you to consult it quickly and without taking your eyes off the road.
That screen is controlled with dials that we find both near the gear lever and in the central part of the dashboard. In them it is possible to control the music or audio reproduction, the driving options or the air conditioning, and all the controls have the same tactile response to normalize the management of all the sections.
The voice as an alternative
Various studies -this is an example- they have warned of the risk that introduce touch screen systems, but other developments go in a different direction. In fact, they introduce more technology, but one that can indeed be a good alternative for cars: voice control.
They had it in The New York Times citing the example of the Chevrolet Equinox with the MyLink system that allows to use voice commands to make or receive calls and was in fact a comparatively less distracting system than the Mazda 6 with which it was equated. There are other alternatives in development, and Hyundai has for example steering wheels with their own touch screens and haptic feedback.
Systems like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay too they try to give more prominence to the voice -Mazda recently integrated them-, but clearly part of the appeal of these systems is in the ability to control them in a familiar way via touch screens.
The risk is therefore clear, especially in designs that even totally dominate the interaction as it happens in the Tesla Model 3. At Mazda they seem to have come to the same conclusion. We will see if other manufacturers follow in the wake.