Remote Touch control - click above for a high-res gallery

Toyota Motor Company is putting some high-tech goodies in the 2010 Prius, but one feature is coming exclusively (at least for now) to the company's high-end Lexus RX 450h: Remote Touch control. The luxury hybrid SUV is the first Lexus vehicle to get the little mouse-like controller that sits in the center console beneath the gear shifter and is used to operate the navigation system and other functions displayed on the info screen (audio system, climate control, etc.). Lexus says the Remote Touch was designed to be "simple to understand, intuitive to use and likely to cause the least distraction from the job of driving." When Autoblog had a chance to take a quick drive in the RX 450h earlier this year, the verdict was "If you've used a mouse, you're good to go." The feature comes standard on the SE-I and SE-L models and can be added to SE grade vehicles. At $42,535 for the most basic model, shouldn't all RX 450h SUVs come with the mouse?

There's a video featuring Remote Touch after the jump.

[Source: Lexus]



Second in a series introducing key features of the new RX 450h: Remote Touch control

Increasingly sophisticated on-board entertainment, navigation and information systems are among the must-have features of today's premium cars, but adjusting and monitoring their functions can risk taking a driver's attention away from the road ahead. Designing a centralised control system that is simple to understand, intuitive to use and likely to cause the least distraction from the job of driving was a key challenge for Lexus in designing the new RX 450h.

The solution is Remote Touch, a new control device that is one of many innovative features in the new full hybrid luxury SUV. It allows more functions to be selected and adjusted than a touch-screen system, presenting information on a display that is located at a more user-friendly height and reading distance from the driver.

Remote Touch makes its world debut in the new RX and forms an integral part of the new Lexus Navigation System. It also provides control of the audio, navigation, climate, phone and set-up functions.

The design principle is just like that of a computer mouse, making it simple and intuitive to use, with touch feedback.

The slim, ergonomically designed Remote Touch device is positioned on the centre console, immediately below the gear shift. It is linked to an eight-inch VGA display screen, set in a recessed housing on the top of the centre console.

There are six control buttons, illustrated in the graphic below.

The central element is the controller, which governs the movement of a pointer left and right over icons on the display screen – the Graphic User Interface (GUI). When the appropriate icon has been selected, the user pushes the Enter button – like the left-click action on a mouse – to activate the function or control.

To make it easier for the driver to select an icon, the system automatically 'pulls' the pointer to an icon if it passes close to it, using the control's haptic reaction force.

The GUI can be customised to suit personal preferences for the sounds the system makes for enter/selection/failure, the reaction force strength and the shape and size of the pointer.

As part of the new Lexus Navigation System, Remote Touch is fitted as standard to SE-I and SE-L grades of the new RX 450h, and can be specified as an option with satellite navigation on SE models.

The new RX 450h full hybrid luxury SUV is available to order now, with customer deliveries from July. On-the-road prices start at £41,600 for the SE model.

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