There are some pretty troublesome trends that are in a parallel universe to the direction that cities are heading. While towns and places are encouraging walking and cycling to enhance retail bottom line and to make citizens healthier and more connected, the automotive industry is involved in their last private ownership/carbon gasp. That involves trucks and SUV’s, colossal rolling living rooms insulating occupants from the surrounding landscape, and splashy new items just unveiled in Las Vegas.
Reuters.com reports on the trend of vehicles becoming “a display centred world”. Part of that trend shows screens expanding on car dashboards including one that is 48 inches (1.22m) long in the Byton M-Byte car.
“Besides the center console, instrument clusters, which house driving controls, and rear-seat entertainment displays are both growing in size. Automakers like Audi (VOWG_p.DE) that combine the center console and instrument cluster often refer to a “cockpit,” necessitating a wide, sweeping screen, like Byton’s, and more consolidated computing power.”
These new dashboard screens mimic the Apple experience, and have touch features like an Ipad. There’s some tension in installing these wide screens as automakers have to work with outside tech industries to provide what they believe the market wants. While the automobile makers say that bigger screens will simplify functions and mean that the driver does not need to go through different applications to get to a wanted item on a screen- this may simply be a trend with no benefit.
How do you design a screen interface that is comfortable for a consumer to use, but does not distract with too much available applications or data? The Globe and Mail questioned the safety of these large screens, noting that if it is illegal for a driver to hold an iPad because it is too distracting, a huge dash mounted screen would also provide challenges. There is also no regulation or safety standard for the size of these screens or their content. “A 2017 study by the University of Utah for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that “In-Vehicle Information Systems take drivers’ attention off the road for too long to be safe.”
But don’t worry~A representative of the Ford Company has indicated that some screens would lock out when people drive, encouraging voice commands. But without universal regulation in an increasing digital world, there is no established test of how much is too much media as vehicle dashboards become more information and media focused.