Why The Next Generation Of Cars Will All Have Built-In Tablets [Detroit 2014]

Why The Next Generation Of Cars Will All Have Built-In Tablets [Detroit 2014]

Designers look to alternative interface options to reduce distracted driving.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 20 january 2014

The rapid influx of digital media into vehicle interiors presents a challenge for car designers. How to best allow drivers to interface with screens intuitively without distracting attention from the main task. keeping the vehicle in control on the road. Touchscreens are now fairly common although the main drawback is that they require the driver to focus on them while in use, distracting them from the road ahead. Some automakers have added haptic feedback, like a vibrating pulse, to try and reduce the amount of time needed to look at the screen.

At the 2014 North American International Auto Show, we saw two examples of next generation touchpads used in forthcoming production cars. Lexus unveiled their 2015 RC F performance coupe which has a center console touch pad looking rather like it was lifted right off a laptop.


The controller pad has a set of 4 simple buttons above for quick link navigation to menus, item scrolling and a dedicated home button. We didn’t get a chance to try the system out but the raised ‘enclosure’ design of the unit looks like it would be easy to locate and use without actually looking at it.






Mercedes-Benz debuted their new C-Class sedan with a really innovative touchpad. The touch surface is curved and fitted to a mouse-like shaped enclosure. The touchpad permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered by the driver in handwriting. Mercedes says the system can be calibrated to recognize any language. The touchpad delivers haptic feedback and the top portion functions as a click button.


We tried the system and it takes a few minutes to get accustomed to navigating without seeing a cursor. But it didn’t take long to get quick with navigating through menus and the pad is very responsive. Also within reach, and cleverly located right under the pad is a scroll wheel.





While both of these example sit on the premium end of the automotive spectrum, it likely won’t be long before touchpads migrate down to more affordable models and get integrated into other interior vehicle surfaces like the steering wheel.

Source: Lexus, Mercedes-Benz


Why The Apple Watch Is Taking Foot In The Restaurant Industry

Technology Today

Google’s Gyroscopic Camera Lets You Shoot VR Content On Android

The experimental device called Sprayscape takes photos inside a sphere to create 360-degree virtual images

Syndicated Today

Why Fashion Labels Are Moving Away From Overt Branding

New research suggests brand are shying away from logos and flashy displays


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Fashion Today

Scientists Have Developed A Furry Wetsuit Material Inspired By Beavers

MIT researchers created the lighter and warmer fabric to maximize speed in the water and to keep swimmers dry

Related Expert

Josh Williams

Location based mobile experiences

Advertising Today

Coca-Cola Has Created A Custom Gaming PC

Maingear developed a computer featuring a fully functional coke bottle water-cooling reservoir

Social Media Today

Chipotle’s New Weekly Show Broadcasts Over Snapchat

The Mexican fast food brand is trying to build goodwill with high school and college students through the social media platform

Media & Publishing Today

The NBA Is Filming Live Games With A Special Camera Just For Your Phone

Subscribers to League Pass can now access a feature called Mobile View, which is shot to be optimized for phones and tablets


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 26, 2016

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

AI Today

Film Touchingly Portrays The Challenge Of Relying On AI To Combat Loneliness

Director David Wilson takes viewers on a journey of the benefits and ultimate deficiencies of replacing human interaction with robots

Travel Today

Delta Lets Flyers Track Their Luggage From The Airplane To The Airport

The airline's new app allows customers to see exactly where their baggage is throughout their journey

Food Today

Chef Turns Invasive Species Into Delicious Sushi

Creator Bun Lai is adapting strange new ingredients for his menu, which responds to the ecological impact of overabundant creatures in the local environment

Gaming & Play Today

Build Your Own Subway System In This Minimalist Game

Mini Metro lets you design your own fully functional transit network, simulating the flow of urban commuters with pared-down visuals

Work Today

Keyboard Designed To Help Women Use More Assertive Language

The device is a commentary on gender roles in the workplace, and features easy access to "power verbs" that help reinforce a habit of being direct in writing

Arts & Culture Today

Spanish Artist Dreams Up What Animals Would Look Like In Modern Clothing

Yago Partal's portraits depict the fantasized style preferences of creatures worldwide, from an Arctic wolf to a zebra

Fitness & Sport Today

New Data Technologies Make Hyper-Personalized Training A Reality

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytics tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Technology Today

IBM Watson Helps Grammy-Winning Producer Craft An EP

The computer system's data technology generated musical scores for Alex Da Kid's first solo project

No search results found.