Car manufacturers, please stop this deformed “arms race”

In March 2014, Apple renamed "iOS in the Car", which was introduced at WWDC nine months ago, to CarPlay, and announced that the in-car service would be officially launched within the year.

Three months later, the first CarPlay-enabled car rolled off the assembly line in Maranello, Italy—it was none other than Ferrari that fired the first shot at Apple.

▲ Picture from: yahoo

The Ferrari FF, priced as high as 5.3 million yuan, sets a very high threshold for CarPlay, but Apple obviously does not want CarPlay to become a plaything for a few people. That same year, Honda and Hyundai joined the bandwagon with CarPlay-enabled models.

Everyone knows the story behind, CarPlay has swept the entire passenger car market at an extremely fast speed. As for why, come and experience the BMW iDrive and Audi MMI at the same time.

▲BMW iDrive

▲Audi MMI

Now that 8 years have passed, Apple proudly stated at WWDC held earlier this month that in the United States, 98% of cars can use CarPlay, and 79% of American consumers say they will only buy CarPlay-enabled models.

The success of CarPlay is not only because of Apple's strong software strength and huge user base, but also because it provides users with the best interactive experience at the same time, kicking the central control screen into a new era.

Where does a good interactive experience come from? An excellent car system is naturally a must, on the other hand, it comes from the screen that presents the car in front of the driver and passengers.

Big screen is not a good thing

The time comes to 2022, and almost all auto manufacturers are emphasizing intelligence and networking. They have stuffed a large screen after another for their "smart cockpit", and cut and cut the physical buttons to highlight the so-called "smart cockpit". futuristic and technological sense.

The screens are getting bigger and bigger, and the number of them is also increasing, but the question is, has the experience really gotten better ?

In March this year, Dong Chehui came to the China Design Center of an international car company to participate in discussions on interior design. During the meeting, the most popular suggestion from the media was to "add more physical buttons", for no other reason-to fully integrate the original bunch of physical buttons into the screen, which greatly affects driving safety.

The American Automobile Association and the University of Utah conducted a study on the central control screen, which showed that the driver's operation of the central control screen while the car is moving is a very dangerous behavior, and for older drivers, the safety risk is even greater. Significantly, they typically completed a task 6 seconds slower than younger adults.

The biggest problem with touchscreens is that the driver can't pinpoint where the buttons are .

An associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at the University of Utah said that when using a touch screen, the driver always needs to look down at the screen. If the physical button is used, the driver can clearly understand the exact location of the button or knob after familiarity. There is no need to bow your head when operating.

Taking a step back, after the user has formed a habit, or after the manufacturer has optimized the operation logic through OTA, the problem of inconvenient operation can be alleviated, but the hidden security problem cannot be completely solved by OTA .

According to the World Health Organization, about 1.3 million people die in traffic accidents each year, and distracted driving is one of the leading causes.

A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also showed that nearly 80% of accidents in the United States involve a distracted driver who did not concentrate on driving three seconds before the accident.

So, until full-fledged autonomous driving arrives, drivers should still focus on the road. Under the existing technical conditions, the number and size of the competition screen is not a good thing .

We should all exercise restraint when it comes to screens

In fact, car manufacturers have already expressed similar views.

Conny Blommé, designer of Polestar, said at an interior design workshop in May:

The large screen may cause the driver to lose focus on the road, which may lead to accidents.

The size and quantity of the screen should be closely integrated with the vehicle model positioning and vehicle usage scenarios, and deeply bound with the functions of the vehicle and the vehicle.

If the manufacturer wants to put one or even multiple larger screens in the car, these screens should provide more readable and useful information without affecting the driver's line of sight, thereby improving driving safety. Such as traffic lights about to turn red, accident alerts, road conditions ahead, etc.

At the same time, the commonly used physical buttons such as air conditioning temperature, air volume, air outlet mode, defogging, emergency lights, hazard warning flashers, and volume adjustment should be reserved for the driver.

Ideally, automakers and UX (user experience) designers must incorporate the " don't interfere with the driver " principle into the entire product design process, ensuring that the design of the screen and its controls does not interfere with the driver's safe driving.

Transport Canada has published a "Guidelines for Limiting Distraction Caused by Visual Displays in Vehicles," which states that "[on a vehicle] should take less than 12 seconds to complete a task."

Automakers should be more thoughtful about getting drivers off screens, rather than strapping a bunch of screens in front of them.

In the same interior design seminar, Matthias Junghanns, chief interior designer of the BMW i series, also expressed his view: large-screen design will be abandoned by car companies.

All vehicle smart technology should be available at your fingertips, but the control interface is only there when you need it, or you want it to be there.

Matthias Junghanns

Regarding the use of screens, not only car manufacturers must exercise restraint, but we, as consumers, must also exercise restraint .

Although it is not ruled out that some UX designers are indeed "interacting with their feet", I believe that most designers are still smart – they also know that it is more convenient to use knobs to adjust the temperature, and it is more convenient to use buttons to cut songs.

In fact, automakers are in a tough spot . On the one hand, they are facing continuous regulatory pressure on safety, and on the other hand, many consumers have requirements for the entertainment functions of the car machine.

This is a tough question, after all, how can you say no to consumers? Is the market gone?

How to correctly guide consumers is something that car manufacturers and media colleagues should think about, but this cannot be accomplished overnight.

Until then, what automakers have to do is to stop the monstrous "arms race" of heroes based on screen size and quantity .

The author is a little busy, so I will write the introduction later.

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