New cars - 'infotainment' screens - joegrundy

In idle moments I read new car reviews on HJ. Sadly but surely my 04 x-type will probably need replacing before I do. (It'll probably be a Dacia).

The 'big thing' seems to be the display screens (anything up to 12") which control everything from radio to heating/ac to navigation.

The controls in my car are simple - hit a button, turn a knob, which you can do without taking your eyes off the road. My cheapo Garmin satnav sits at the bottom of the windscreen, in line of sight but not obscuring it or distracting. I often use it even locally to remind me of speed. I just returned from a 2400 mile trip to Andorra, Begium and France, much on small country roads and it worked just fine, allowing me to keep my eyes mainly on the road, watch for signs, etc.

In modern cars, the screens seem to be set low in the fascia and it appears to me that the driver has to look down to change settings, follow the satnav, etc. Surely this must present a danger?

(oh, and my satnav has free unlimited updates for Western Europe. I understand that some makers charge big bucks for this.)

Do you need a co-pilot nowadays to deal with the technology?

Interested to hear of experiences.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Metropolis.

I have the same issue. A pet hate of mine is sat navs located below the air vents. Two reasons, one is like you say, it's a distraction from the road. Secondly I get carsick if I look down. The only car I haven't had this issue in is a 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer rental car in Florida. No doubt the motoring press here would complain about the cheap plastics and body roll. I just appreciated the ample power, soft seats and incredibly smooth ride.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Avant

You're absolutely right. I don't think enough is being made in the motoring press about the potential dangers of being distracted by complex electronics - in particular taking one's eyes off the road to operate a touchscreen.

I hate touchscreens - you can't do things by feel. I would never buy a car - such as most Peugeots - where you need to go through touchscreen menus to do something as simple as change the temperature inside the car.

I suspect some road testers agree - but if they start saying a new car is potentially dangerous they won't get any more to test, and may also lose the advertising contract. Some years ago, CAR magazine didn't get Volvos to test for a long time because they'd been rude about them being tank-like to drive.

That's a fine old Jaguar, Joe - it's done you very well. The X-type was much reviled for having Ford mechanicals - but they were good ones, as you've proved. Jaguar added the comfort and style that you wouldn't have got in a Mondeo.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Montanan

I also hate the touchscreen feature. I have rented a few vehicles with them and find that they can be quite a distraction. Having been an accident investigator, I am wondering how many crashed will be caused by people pecking away on their touch screen.

I have effectively been run out of the market for a new car because I refuse to pay for most of the technology that car makers are expecting buyers to embrace.

What I am looking for is a comfortable means of transportation to get me from point A to point B. i don't stream music, I actullly turn off my phone when I am driving as it can be a distraction while driving.

I have CASH in have for a new car and can't find a car that I would consider buying because I have no use for many of the tech features that are now becoming standard equipment and refuse to pay for the features that I don't want.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Metropolis.

I think greater use of head-up displays would solve this. It's not exactly new technology either, GM had it on the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (among other models) in 1988! Granted it 'only' showed the speed, but this could easily be used to give other simple nav info surely. Or has someone done this already?

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

Biggest complaint I hear about is not the fact you need to touch the screen to do anything, its the fact on certain displays the software takes a while to do what you ask it to.

some drivers think that the touch has not worked, so they touch it again, which to the display is another instruction and if that happens to be fan speed instead of it being speed 2 it goes up to 4th speed

I have no problem with these displays and have one in the Civic, as long as they are responsive and do the job quickly imo they are good

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - RT

Heads Up doesn't overcome the distraction of having to touch the screen, in the right place, to operate certain things.

I recently bought a premium SUV - one of my criteria was to get more button controls rather than touch screen so Range Rovers and Volvo XC90's were quickly off the short list.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

I really do not see the difference, if you dont use a touchscreen or if you do, you still have to press/touch a button whether you look at it or not?

and if you do look it takes no longer than looking at a mechanical switch, if tech replaces all buttons which I think it will, like dash units, or they have speech recognition which I am not that keen on...

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - RobJP

If you don't see the difference, then you really should try using the various types of units before deciding that they're all identically bad.

The idrive controller is a a menu selector, which rotates and 'jogs' sideways and up/down. It is completely different to a touchscreen. You never have to look at the wheel to use it (it's next to the handbrake on the centre console). It falls naturally to hand. If you want to glance at the screen, then the screen is not obscured by your hand (as it would be if a touchscreen), and you don't have to reach out to press / swipe across that screen to use it.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - hillman

RobJP

Do you stop the car before selecting anything ?

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - RobJP

No. You don't need to - the distraction from it is the same (or less) than altering the temperature on the aircon, or changing the volume on the music, or switching from Radio 2 to 5 live. If I wanted to input a new destination into the satnav then I could even do that on the move, though I personally think that requires a fair bit of attention, or at least more attention than I'm willing to take from the road and other traffic.

The screen is mounted into the top of the dash, directly under the central mirror. So it's not obscuring anything (the only thing behind the screen is the back of the dash and the nearest few inches of the bonnet), but it's also within 'glance' vision, just like the wing mirrors.

HJ himself praised the idrive system, rating it one of the best, easiest and most intuitive to use (at the time, newer systems might be better now).

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - SkodaIan

The most annoying feature of some systems is for them to time out and default back to the 'home' screen. It's quite common to need to stop part way through a selection because of road/traffic conditions and restart a few minutes later at the next set of lights etc.

This is an area where greater regulation is required. I don't think it is safe to have the heater (particularly de-mist) controls buried down in several sub-menus. I'm yet to see a car with the indicators controlled from a menu on the touch screen, but a few years agoI wouldn't have expected heater controls there either.

Human Factors engineering is whole science in itself. I can tell whether interfaces and controls are done right or wrong, but have no idea how to get the design right! In general, the big premium manufacturers get it more right than the lower end of the market. The lower end do get it right from time to time though - the PSA 'cigarette packet' under steering wheel stereo control was superb as it was in the right place and completely intuitive to use. Unfortunately it's use is now limited to the van range such is the fashion for touch screens.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - RT

I really do not see the difference, if you dont use a touchscreen or if you do, you still have to press/touch a button whether you look at it or not?

and if you do look it takes no longer than looking at a mechanical switch, if tech replaces all buttons which I think it will, like dash units, or they have speech recognition which I am not that keen on...

I can remember where buttons are, and locate them in the dark by position without looking at them.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - RobJP

I really do not see the difference, if you dont use a touchscreen or if you do, you still have to press/touch a button whether you look at it or not?

and if you do look it takes no longer than looking at a mechanical switch, if tech replaces all buttons which I think it will, like dash units, or they have speech recognition which I am not that keen on...

I can remember where buttons are, and locate them in the dark by position without looking at them.

The problem with the touchscreen units is that you don't get to 'feel around' to find the right 'button' it's just a 1" square responsive bit, on a screen full of other responsive bits, that will send you into menus you don't want or need at the time.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - brum

Touch screens in cars are as dangerous if not more so than using a mobile phone while driving.

Central Rotary control knob that seems in vogue, a waste of space and also requires far too much attention and concentration, usually in conjunction with looking at a centrally mounted screen, also a big danger.

I can only imagine what a distraction apple play or android mirror is in a car.

Infotainment in its present form should be banned or relocated to the rear seats only.

Edited by brum on 15/09/2016 at 21:06

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - gordonbennet

I haven't a clue what you lot are going on about, i'm still on the good old 3 dials for temp/fan speed/direction and a push button for aircon, radio is an independant unit, don't have to look all can be operated by feel alone, and long may this happy state of affairs continue.

Very unlikely i shall own a car with this infotainment malarkey, it wouldn't be working the age i buy cars anyway...i shall add infotainment to the growing list of not on your nellys, it joins EPB, DPF, LED lights and DSG to mention but the tip of a growing iceberg.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

I haven't a clue what you lot are going on about, i'm still on the good old 3 dials for temp/fan speed/direction and a push button for aircon, radio is an independant unit, don't have to look all can be operated by feel alone, and long may this happy state of affairs continue.

Very unlikely i shall own a car with this infotainment malarkey, it wouldn't be working the age i buy cars anyway...i shall add infotainment to the growing list of not on your nellys, it joins EPB, DPF, LED lights and DSG to mention but the tip of a growing iceberg.

GB you remind me of my brother who is not a lover of modern tech, and has just bought an old Shogun which he found it hard to find a good one, most had body damage and smoked badly, but he wouldnt buy a new motor too much tech involved.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

I can only imagine what a distraction apple play or android mirror is in a car.

They have a warning displayed on it telling people not to use while driving.

so its the drivers responsability, a radio can be a distraction if you let it as I see drivers attempting to dance in the drivers seat rocking the car about without a care about whats going on around them!

its down to the driver to set the system at standstill and not play around with it while driving, anyone who is seen doing it should be nicked

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - RobJP

I have to agree. I know the F31 has an 'apps' facility, where you can put various things on there, get your emails delivered and read out to you, pair it with a business calendar so that the satnav will automatically direct you to your next appointment, etc, etc.

Personally, I'm far too much of a luddite to work such things to their full extent, and would have minimal desire to do so.

The frightening ones (to me) are the 'social media' apps which some cars are advertised with - especially those aiming at the 'hip' car buyers/leasers in their early 20s, who've not yet learned that they're mortal.

Facebook, twitter, etc. all linked into your car and constantly updating.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - colinh

Plenty of add-on HUDs available from £25 upwards, linked to either sat-nav or phone info

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015MHSDDG/ref=pd_day0...A

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Honestjohn

I agree that touch screen controls for heating and ventilation can be very dangerous because it can involve working your way through screen menus while the windscreen of the car is steaming up, and with very light power steering that action could potentially put you into something or off the road. It poarticularly afflicts Peugeot and Citroends (mainly 308s and Cactus) and PSA is aware of this. Testing the new C3 in mid October and we'll see how they configured that. Most manuffacturers sensibly offer separate controls for heating and ventilation. Audi has taken it all a step fuerther by eliminating central touch screens altogether and replacing them with a TFT 'virtual dash' controlled by steering wheel buttons and the MMI console stick, as in the new TTRS: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/audi/audi-ttrs-roa.../

HJ

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - davecooper

The Mazda "Infotainment " system has the touch screen disabled once the car is moving. You can still use the central knob and buttons while the car is moving, but ultimately most of the useful stuff can be voice controlled anyway.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - hillman

RobJP

"The frightening ones (to me) are the 'social media' apps which some cars are advertised with - especially those aiming at the 'hip' car buyers/leasers in their early 20s, who've not yet learned that they're mortal."

The most frightening thing is that they don't seem to realise that other people are mortal. Imagine one of them looking for Pokemons while driving !!

The front page headline of the Daily Mail, issue dated 16th Sept, complains that so many people are now using their mobiles while driving that the police have given up prosecuting them. How many are using their 'Infotainment' screen to keep in touch with their friends via F/B and Twitter ?

I read a comment by a young person recently that before mobiles were available people were 'out of touch' for like, hours.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

police have given up prosecuting them

You do not see that many around my neck of the woods, but you dont need a paper to tell you a lot of drivers use mobiles, as they dont care about who see them anymore

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - joegrundy

Many thanks for the comments.

I was interested today to hear a debate about ;hands free' phones. It was suggested that the concentration needed on a hands-free call was as dangerous as using a non-hands free phone.

I'm not sure how modern police comms work, but I;m fairly sure that messages are received and transmitted while driving. Technically no different from hands-free phones.

Many years ago, as a dibble driving a sector car, I had two radios to monitor - the local UHF 'personal radio' and the VHF 'force network'. This was before the days of built-in microphones, TX buttons on gear lever or steering wheel, etc.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Smileyman

correct me if I'm wrong, don't many cars come with "one touch" buttons to activate the windscreen demister fan at high speed - my Primera has this, confounded thing also activates the aircon and maximum heat (but that's a different dicusssion)

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - RT

correct me if I'm wrong, don't many cars come with "one touch" buttons to activate the windscreen demister fan at high speed - my Primera has this, confounded thing also activates the aircon and maximum heat (but that's a different dicusssion)

And you can find it by touch without looking.

It's a rapid demist function so of course it wants drier, warmer air - many modern cars incorporate PTC 12v heaters in the heater - LR Freelander 2 and Hyundai Santa Fe are two that I know of.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Honestjohn

I tagged this onto an IAM RoadSmart release to make a news item of it: www.honestjohn.co.uk/news/miscellaneous/2016-09/do.../

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Bracket

"(It'll probably be a Dacia)."

Excellent cars.

Renault Dacia have the optional 7" MediaNav Evo sat-nav radio. It's got lots of convenient features, but it's a touch-screen which requires looking directly at it to touch the correct bit, and it's mounted low down under the airvents.

They are extremely popular but so distracting to use while driving I've taken mine out. They sell on Ebay for high prices, which is the upside.

Edited by Bracket on 29/09/2016 at 08:44

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - davecooper

People may argue that Infotainment screens and SatNavs etc affect concentration. However, I still think these systems are a safer option than talking or texting on a hand held phone. I can't see how holding a phone conversation on a hands free system can be much worse than talking to a passenger. It is certainly safter than holding a handset to your ear.

What does amaze me is why people use hand held phones in cars that have hands free Bluetooth system fitted. Are they unable to work out how to pair their phone with the car.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

Are they unable to work out how to pair their phone with the car

Yes, some people have no idea how to use them, and some do not want to use them, similar to those that have no idea how to switch there lights on at night

I know of one person that refuses to use one because he doesnt want his phone numbers stored on the hands free (a garage told him you cannot delete them once stored) he was told wrong but believed it?

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Falkirk Bairn

>>Are they unable to work out how to pair their phone with the car?

Pairing a new phone with an old car can sometimes be a bit of hit & miss.

Just this week

My car is a 2012 Honda which came out in 2007 as a model.

Pairing it with a Blackberry 4 years ago was fine. 2016 I-phone was more than just reading the car manual and hitting 2/3 buttons.

I read lots of car sites to no avail. Looked at an Apple site, 5 minutes later it had paired- an extra step made the difference.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

>>Are they unable to work out how to pair their phone with the car?

Pairing a new phone with an old car can sometimes be a bit of hit & miss.

Just this week

My car is a 2012 Honda which came out in 2007 as a model.

Pairing it with a Blackberry 4 years ago was fine. 2016 I-phone was more than just reading the car manual and hitting 2/3 buttons.

I read lots of car sites to no avail. Looked at an Apple site, 5 minutes later it had paired- an extra step made the difference.

We are talking Apple here, they are supposedly easier to use, but I know of no one that has not had problems with them. so much for making life simples

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - davecooper

I appreciate that some systems aren't as friendly to use as others. I had problems using bluetooth on my previous car. I was really aiming the criticism at people driving brand new cars, especially the so called premium marques, that still talk on a handset.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - gordonbennet

The problem with inbuilt or so called professional hands free kits in cars is background noise coupled with the microphone too far from the person speaking, you know the deafening tyre noise from all those elastic bands makers insist motorway and family cars need or they apparently fall of the road? yes that noise, and engine noise in vans and lorries.

I've used all sorts of hands free kits for years, from inbuilt to the stupid looking things that people wear whilst grocery shopping in the supermarket like some wannabe secret service agent waiting for a life or death call to save the once free world.

By far the best ones for clear calls, both ends, are the McDonalds drive thru style over the headphone with mike on a flexi stalk close to the mouth, these things priced between £10 and £40 knock £200+ pro kits into a cocked hat.

Oh, and by the way where did that strange expression knocking something into a cocked hat come from?

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - carl233

I really do not get where 'modern' vehicles are going, I feel there is evidence cars reached the peak in the late 90's for durability, ease of repair without not needed complication. Complication is fine if it adds value but only where it is useful to the core purpose.

Rather than huge screens a more useful feature is all new cars with factory fitted HUD units so the drivers eyes do not leave the road. I HUD unit that has settings in which it can be configured in a way that the driver wishes.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - hillman

I agree. Apart from the reliability issue the shift in design of cars has only suited the motor car industry. Where one used to 'tinker' with one's car at idle moments only the very brave do this now. However, HUDs should be restricted to vital infomation. Anything that draws attention from the road ahead should be only momentary. Having to go through the menu of the modern 'Infotainment' screen to chose something means either stopping the car or an accident for someone else.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - bolt

I agree. Apart from the reliability issue the shift in design of cars has only suited the motor car industry. Where one used to 'tinker' with one's car at idle moments only the very brave do this now. However, HUDs should be restricted to vital infomation. Anything that draws attention from the road ahead should be only momentary. Having to go through the menu of the modern 'Infotainment' screen to chose something means either stopping the car or an accident for someone else.

there wont be any such thing in years to come, if autonomous cars do not take off the driver will have a windscreen that works like a oled tv, but see through, a tv manufacturer has been thinking about this screen (they have made one) all driver info is displayed on windscreen in such a way as to be in focus with the road so you can see the road as well as the info you need

if you have seen the wall hanging tv? the same idea can be put inside a winscreen

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Sofa Spud

I really do not get where 'modern' vehicles are going, I feel there is evidence cars reached the peak in the late 90's for durability, ease of repair without not needed complication. Complication is fine if it adds value but only where it is useful to the core purpose.

Rather than huge screens a more useful feature is all new cars with factory fitted HUD units so the drivers eyes do not leave the road. I HUD unit that has settings in which it can be configured in a way that the driver wishes.

Cars peaked for 'ease of repair' well before the '90's', probably during the 1930's!

Car technology is developing rapidly at the moment but there's also a kind of wait and see going on. The future of diesel engines is uncertain. And what about petrol engines - will they survive merely to drive generators in hybrids? And what about hybrids themselves now they look increasingly like they might just be a stop-gap on the way to fully electric cars?

Digital displays are obviously here to stay, but how best to make use of them? One big infotainment screen in the middle of the dash or a smaller one plus another screen in front of the driver to display essentials like speed and warnings?

One way in which modern cars have lost direction is styling, which is getting over fussy with blade edges and illogical creases and bulges. The new Tesla Model 3 has gone against this trend with a simple and elegant design which could be a major selling point for it.

Edited by Sofa Spud on 20/09/2017 at 21:52

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Andrew-T

Oh, and by the way where did that strange expression knocking something into a cocked hat come from?

Picking up GB's query of last year, I have looked this up, but am not much wiser. Assuming we know what a cocked hat is (or was), it seems that (and I quote from Brewer's Phrase & Fable):

In the game of ninepins, 3 pins were set up in a triangle, and when all the pins except those 3 were knocked down, the set was said to be....

I used to skittle in my student days, but I said I was not much wiser.

New cars - 'infotainment' screens - Dogfuzz

Totally agree. If there are to be these things-they should be related to the functions of the car and not the enertainment or destination needs of the driver. Trying not to be nosey I couldn't help but notice someone who lives nearby spending most of their weekend sitting in their driving seat clearly adjusing info entertainment preferences on his "new" car.

No harm in that-but he completely failed to manually spot-and rectify- a rear off side tyre that was clearly heading for a monday morning puncture.

One does wonder?

 

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