• Nov 12, 2007
Recently we reviewed VW's four-door GTI and one of our few complaints was the difficult-to-use nav system. We suggested replacing all the little buttons and dials with a touch screen. Guess what? They listened! VW's design chief, Walter de' Silva, tells Automotive News Europe that starting next year, every VW will have a touch screen interface. Not just those equipped with nav, but every VW made. It's not clear from the story whether this is will be in Europe only or includes U.S.-spec VWs as well.
According to the article, all the car's main passenger-usable systems will be controlled by the screen including climate, radio, entertainment, etc. While we'll withhold judgment on the usefulness or intuitiveness of the system, it will surely go a long way toward giving VW a high-tech look. Could this have been what VW consulted Apple on a few months ago? Or is it just finally the fruition of VW's tech licensing of touch-screen technology from Immersion back in 2005? If so, that could mean the company's new touch screens will have tactile feedback like GPS units that use Immersion's TouchSense technology. Either way, we look forward to seeing how iPhone-like automotive controls work out.

[Source: Automotive News Europe - Sub. Req.]


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  • 25 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Do I get to touch the models ?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hate touch screens....I want to be able to change settings based on touch.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A screen mounted high so you can easily look at it.

        As opposed to not looking at all.

        Get it?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Exactly, I hate how the touch screen on our RX330 requires taking your eyes off the road to change simple climate controls settings. I really prefer knobs and buttons for controls that are used while the vehicle is in motion.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Despite the fact it may feel like I am pressing a button I still have to look at the screen to know which menu is currently up. My current HVAC and radio controls never suddenly decide to switch places. I can always reach down and change the fan speed without having to look.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I have to agree...they look nice and there's definitely a novelty there but in the end it's just not as safe or functional.

        I had a touch screen, found myself wishing for buttons back. Luckily it got stolen and the universe righted itself...
        • 7 Years Ago
        And that's where a half-decent interface design (such as that offered by Apple; if my dad can operate an iPod without instruction anybody can) and a screen mounted high up in your line of sight come in.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Touchscreens trade speed and simplicity for versatility. They're OK for some things, like Nav systems you're using while stopped, watching DVDs, changing infrequently-used settings, reading OBD2 codes, surfing the web, etc. They're not OK for stuff you do while driving: Volume, Prev/Next, Play/Pause, FanSpeed, Temperature, etc. Those controls should require zero thought/attention, they should always do the same thing and be in the same place and be one twist away, not in a sub-menu. Hopefully they'll keep real controls for those functions.
      What's up with this "tactile feedback," BS? The image changes and it plays a "click," sound?! That's audio/visual feedback, not tactile feedback! Any half-decent website has that functionality, as do most software. Welcome to the late 20th century again. If the screen actually physically "clicked," and you could feel it in your finger... but that's not what they're talking about.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "If the screen actually physically "clicked," and you could feel it in your finger... but that's not what they're talking about."

        Christ! Would you people take the lousy 30 seconds to read? That's exactly what they're talking about.

        "Immersion’s new TouchSense® system transforms conventional, passive touchscreens into active displays that “come alive” by making graphical buttons seem to press and release like physical buttons. TouchSense-enabled touchscreens can supply unmistakable tactile confirmation, delivering a user interface that restores the tactile connection and certainty of response people like about mechanical controls."

        " * Graphical buttons can provide the familiar up and down forces of physical buttons
        * Menu items can supply a pulse sensation when lightly touched and a confirming push-back response when pressed
        * A rocker switch can exhibit increasing or decreasing vibrations corresponding to motor or fan speed, magnitude, or other parameter
        * Enter, Next, and other major and minor functions can supply a consistent feel throughout an application, allowing a user to know instinctively whether they’ve selected correctly
        * Scrolling displays can provide a stop sensation when the first or last items have been reached
        * Switch controls can exhibit a pop effect
        * Levers can offer a click response for each possible setting"

        http://www.immersion.com/industrial/touchscreen/applications.php
      • 7 Years Ago
      A German car with intuitive controls? What next, competitive reliability?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I take it you've never, ever, driven an Audi? MMI is by far the most intuitive control system I've ever used in any car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Zamafir,
        The point is not whether MMI is superior to iDrive or COMAND, but why this e-garbage is foisted on the driving public in the first place.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Touch screens are excellent for controlling complex systems like navigation units (while the car is stationery, of course) but well-designed, ergonomic knobs and buttons are much better suited to simple things like climate control and radio.

      Requiring the driver to take their eyes off the road to make simple adjustments that could be done by feel with physical controls is bad news for drivers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ARRRRGGGHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOO
      • 7 Years Ago
      So judging by the title, will that girl be getting a touch screen?
        • 7 Years Ago
        oh i get it! haha took me a second
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really like controls I can touch without looking, and although you do have to glance at a GPS screen for directions, controlling stuff from a touch screen is like opening a map in your lap and steering with your knees. What's the point of being high tech when you can't keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I thought VW was going to focus on lowering the cost of their vehicles? This would be an expensive upgrade I'm sure.
      • 7 Years Ago
      People, people you don't think they'll still have steering wheel mounted controls for volume/track/temp up or down? The most important controls will still have buttons on the steering wheel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      But do they work with gloves on? (obvious)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hopefully we are able to jailbreak the interface =)


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