Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Apr 2014 20:09 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces

There's certainly some hope on the horizon with Apple and Google, though just how good these systems will be remains to be seen. One thing is clear, though: the current state of all in-car experiences is incredibly bad. For those manufacturers looking to go it alone, I don't expect much.

In-car software is absolutely horrifying and crazy complex. A good friend of mine regularly drives brand new and super-expensive cars (in the hundreds of thousands of euros category), and even in those cars, the user interfaces are just terrible. There's a lot of room for improvement and disruption here.

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Comment by Fergy
by Fergy on Fri 11th Apr 2014 20:24 UTC
Fergy
Member since:
2006-04-10

That first small image of the inside of the car at the top of the article is 1.586,89 KB

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Fergy
by Nth_Man on Fri 11th Apr 2014 20:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by Fergy"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

That's useful information for people who don't have unlimited and free access to Internet, for example.

Reply Score: 3

Avoid avoid avoid
by andrewclunn on Fri 11th Apr 2014 20:46 UTC
andrewclunn
Member since:
2012-11-05

Get as little computerized tech in your car as possible. It's one more thing that can break, accept that you won't be able to fix it yourself or reformat it, or install your own preferred OS, and you'll have to mechanic level costs when it breaks. The very idea of computerized interfaces with your car is a stupid one. It's like all these "smart" TVs and other "smart" appliances. Blue tooth connection between the sound system and my phone, that's all it should have.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Avoid avoid avoid
by mistersoft on Sat 12th Apr 2014 15:41 UTC in reply to "Avoid avoid avoid"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

certainly in the UK it's illegal to be using your phone while driving - even just using it to chose the next song.. -so (and more so if you have a big library) you really -ideally- need the in car system to some how have a really simply and intuitive way of searching for your media files and more. Much as I'm not a fan of voice control generally, i think in the car, it will have to be a combination of voice control, REALLY simple touch interfaces, and very intuitive steering wheel controls.
some sort of heads-up display, even if google glass and competitors are made illegal while driving too, might factor into the mix as well.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Avoid avoid avoid
by bassbeast on Sat 12th Apr 2014 22:19 UTC in reply to "Avoid avoid avoid"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Or even better just pay somebody to go DIY. I have a friend that installs carputers and I have yet to see a car UI setup from the factory that looks as good as his stuff or works as well, not even close. With embedded X86 shrinking by the day you can get some crazy powerful units that just sip power and can easily be installed in a trunk in such a way as to look like it was built in. Then add some wireless screens and Mifi and you have a rolling Internet cafe and entertainment center, nicer than factory.

Oh and in a dose of delicious irony his fav OS to use in his carputers? Windows 8. It turns out metro makes a hell of a carputer UI with very little tweaking and with all the optimizing for touch and speed tweaks MSFT put into it Win 8 makes a hell of an embedded OS.

Reply Score: 3

safety?
by project_2501 on Fri 11th Apr 2014 21:16 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

Is it me or does the idea of safe driving and complex counter-intuitive attention seeking UI's in cars not go together?

Reply Score: 5

RE: safety?
by woegjiub on Fri 11th Apr 2014 21:22 UTC in reply to "safety?"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

It seems like the entire idea of using touchscreens is likely to reduce attention placed on the road.

These interfaces *need* to be tactile, otherwise you're not going to be able to manipulate them without taking your eyes off the road.

The shitty UIs exaserbate this problem by orders of magnitude - hunting to point & click can kill you and other people here.

Even the best touchscreen interface is no good in this context, though.

Let's say it's cold out, and your windshield has started to fog up. If you can't just get the fan going quickly, you're looking away from an increasingly obscured view, which will take time to adapt back to.
It's a recipe for disaster.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: safety?
by WorknMan on Fri 11th Apr 2014 21:46 UTC in reply to "RE: safety?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

These interfaces *need* to be tactile


I'd argue the same holds true for mp3 players. Most of them were ruined when they copied the touch interface of the iCrap devices, and became impossible to navigate when they were in your pocket, so they were pretty much useless when working out. And that's about the only use I had for them.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: safety?
by woegjiub on Fri 11th Apr 2014 21:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: safety?"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

Headphones with built-in controls really help here, but you're right; you just can't control everything without looking anymore.

You seem likely to be similar to me in that even touchscreen phones are irritating; I used to text or email really quickly witout ever needing to look at the phone.
Now, even while looking, half the words end up wrong.

What I wouldn't give for a T9 interface (or similar) up the side of a phone so as to not interrupt the screen.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: safety?
by WorknMan on Sat 12th Apr 2014 00:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: safety?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I found a great alternative to touch screen phones; PC keyboards ;) There's rarely anything important enough that can't wait until I get home. I can bang out quick texts when absolutely necessary, but other than that, I don't need to talk to anyone that badly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: safety?
by zima on Tue 15th Apr 2014 23:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: safety?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

You can still get a Sansa Clip Zip, with buttons... (and put Rockbox on it! ;) )

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: safety?
by WorknMan on Wed 16th Apr 2014 00:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: safety?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The Sansa Clip Zip is a royal pain in the ass, because the buttons on the front aren't recessed, and I found the home button was constantly getting pressed if I leaned against anything. Much prefer the Clip+ ;)

Reply Score: 2

TESLA ALREADY USES UBUNTU
by jello on Fri 11th Apr 2014 22:55 UTC
jello
Member since:
2006-08-08

Tesla already uses Ubuntu with their own custom UI:
http://www.geek.com/apps/hidden-ethernet-port-found-on-tesla-s-used...

A while ago I read that Apple might be interested in buying Tesla.
When this happens we will probably see PearOS running in a Tesla. (or iOS).

Edited 2014-04-11 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 1

disposable cars
by unclefester on Sat 12th Apr 2014 02:48 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

The modern car is literally designed to be disposable. After about 100,000Km the potential cost of major repairs and service can be extraordinary (especially European models) and easily exceed the value of the car.

On of my friends chooses to drive a 50 year old Peugeot because it is extremely reliable and he can do virtually any repair or maintenance himself.

Reply Score: 2

RE: disposable cars
by ilovebeer on Sat 12th Apr 2014 05:29 UTC in reply to "disposable cars"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Better performance & efficiency usually requires simplicity be sacrificed to some degree. In most cases I don't think that's a bad thing. Regardless of age & design, cars are filled with wear-parts. Whether we're talking your friends 50 year old Peugeot or something newer, major repairs and the cost associated with them are a certainty.

Edited 2014-04-12 05:30 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: disposable cars
by unclefester on Sat 12th Apr 2014 08:19 UTC in reply to "RE: disposable cars"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

The fuel efficiency of modern cars is based on totally unrealistic synthetic benchmarks that can underestimate real world fuel consumption by 30% or more.

A VW Golf DSG transmission costs >$8,000 (in Australia) to replace and it can fail after about five years (75,000Km) of normal use. $8000 will buy 6000 litres of petrol so efficiency isn't all that critical.

The Peugeot clutch costs $40 (plus labour) to replace and will easily last 100,000Km if driven properly. There are no expensive electronics to fail. Routine maintenance costs are no more than $100-200/year if you have some basic tools and some DIY ability.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: disposable cars
by ilovebeer on Sat 12th Apr 2014 14:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: disposable cars"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

The fuel efficiency of modern cars is based on totally unrealistic synthetic benchmarks that can underestimate real world fuel consumption by 30% or more.

Nobody is getting 30% less mpg unless they drive like a complete idiot. All my vehicles get around what they should, and I suspect most people would say the same.

A VW Golf DSG transmission costs >$8,000 (in Australia) to replace and it can fail after about five years (75,000Km) of normal use. $8000 will buy 6000 litres of petrol so efficiency isn't all that critical.

You can cherry pick expensive parts to use for comparison all day long, there are literally millions to choose from. But, it doesn't mean much because for every one you come up with, you can cherry pick the opposite as well. Aside of that, efficiency does matter. Why? Because it can mean less wear on wear-parts and less pollution for starters.

The Peugeot clutch costs $40 (plus labour) to replace and will easily last 100,000Km if driven properly. There are no expensive electronics to fail. Routine maintenance costs are no more than $100-200/year if you have some basic tools and some DIY ability.

First, why are you trying to compare a clutch against the entire transmission? In other words, something that tends to be cheap against something that tends not to be. Next, not all electronics are expensive. Also, routine maintenance on many new cars isn't much either.

The durability of a car starts with the quality of work done at build time, but the buck stops with how the owner treats it. Certain cars can take a beating and still go. Others need to be handled with care. And the truth is as I said, all cars contain wear-parts and there's simply no getting around that. Saying older == better as a blanket statement isn't true at all. There's a slew of old cars that were pieces of crap, just like there is today. Yes, the reverse can be said too, ...and it also applies to modern vehicles.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: disposable cars
by unclefester on Sun 13th Apr 2014 04:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: disposable cars"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13


Nobody is getting 30% less mpg unless they drive like a complete idiot. All my vehicles get around what they should, and I suspect most people would say the same.


Rubbish. The test protocols are nothing like real world driving. The City Cycle test used in Australia involves a 13 minute simulated trip with speeds up to 50km/h. A real Australian commute is closer to an hour and involves speeds up to 100km/h and dozens of stops/starts.

You can cherry pick expensive parts to use for comparison all day long, there are literally millions to choose from. But, it doesn't mean much because for every one you come up with, you can cherry pick the opposite as well. Aside of that, efficiency does matter. Why? Because it can mean less wear on wear-parts and less pollution for starters.


Wrong again. The VW DSG transmission problem is a known defect affecting millions of cars. It has led to worldwide recalls.

First, why are you trying to compare a clutch against the entire transmission? In other words, something that tends to be cheap against something that tends not to be.


Both the clutch and DSG transmission are disposable items that are not designed to be repaired. Both last about the same distance but one costs 200x times as much the other.

Next, not all electronics are expensive. Also, routine maintenance on many new cars isn't much either.


The only "electronic" part that is cheap on a modern car is a lightbulb.

Routine maintenance on modern cats is typically cheap for the first 5years/100,000km. Once the warranty runs out costs an spiral into an nightmare as major components such as transmissions ($3000-$10,000+), brake rotors ($500+) timing belts ($1000+), fuel injectors ($2000+), suspension components etc need to be repaired or replaced. The cost of these routine repairs can easily exceed the value of a 10 year old car.

In Australia most reputable car dealers won't resell traded vehicles over about six years old because of warranty problems. These trade-ins are sent straight to wholesale auctions

The durability of a car starts with the quality of work done at build time, but the buck stops with how the owner treats it. Certain cars can take a beating and still go. Others need to be handled with care. And the truth is as I said, all cars contain wear-parts and there's simply no getting around that.


Parts do wear out. The problem is some cars are cheap and easy to fix and others are expensive nightmares. The owner often has no idea how outrageous these repairs costs will be until a problem occurs.

In Australia if you own an imported Holden (Opel) Vectra or Astra you're out of luck because most mechanics refuse to work on the engines. The Vectra was a popular mid-size family car not some rare and exotic machine.

Modern cars use the cheapest components sourced from a wide variety of suppliers. QA is patchy at best - even amongst prestige brands. Modern cars are initially economical and reliable before becoming expensive nightmares as those "efficient" and often extremely complicated part swear out.

Saying older == better as a blanket statement isn't true at all. There's a slew of old cars that were pieces of crap, just like there is today. Yes, the reverse can be said too, ...and it also applies to modern vehicles.


I never claimed that ALL old cars were reliable. Many, particularly British cars, were rubbish . However some old cars eg 70s-80s Mercedes have far better build quality and reliability than any modern car.

Reply Score: 3

RE: disposable cars
by gfx1 on Sat 12th Apr 2014 09:22 UTC in reply to "disposable cars"
gfx1 Member since:
2006-01-20

50 year old Peugeots like the 404 rust like something very rusty, they are nice cars though. Lots of room around the engine to fix things.

Edited 2014-04-12 09:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: disposable cars
by Morgan on Sat 12th Apr 2014 12:38 UTC in reply to "disposable cars"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I agree wholeheartedly. I have a 30 year old truck with a 40 year old (rebuilt) engine, and the only repairs I have to do are regular maintenance. It's about as dependable as a car can get.

Reply Score: 1

RE: disposable cars
by BluenoseJake on Sat 12th Apr 2014 17:44 UTC in reply to "disposable cars"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

you just need to buy a car with a proper warranty, the warranty on my Mazda is 10 years, unlimited kilometers on the drive train, 4 years (extendable for 6 years for 200 bucks) on everything else. I haven't even had to change my windshield wipers.

if you buy a cheap car, it's disposable. If you buy a good car, with a proper warranty, you'll get 10 years out of it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: disposable cars
by zima on Tue 15th Apr 2014 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE: disposable cars"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

How you treat it also goes a long way. 1999 Renault Megane here, still going strong; but with proper maintenance.

BTW, even such budget brand as Kia has long warranties ;) (7 years on everything)

Reply Score: 2

RE: disposable cars
by somebody on Sun 13th Apr 2014 10:52 UTC in reply to "disposable cars"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

The modern car is literally designed to be disposable. After about 100,000Km the potential cost of major repairs and service can be extraordinary (especially European models) and easily exceed the value of the car.

On of my friends chooses to drive a 50 year old Peugeot because it is extremely reliable and he can do virtually any repair or maintenance himself.


don't know how you got european cars here. unless you think french cars+fiat=european cars and even those tend to be reliable to 200k. sad truth is that french cars tend to be cheaper and more popular even though quality is far from looks (everything about them when you look details screams "i was made cheap"). all you need is to do test drive in 1 month old french car and then go and try used bmw/vw at 300+k... notice the difference

german cars are probably as reliable as you can imagine. well, i can at least say that for bmw or vw.

Reply Score: 2

classic design
by unclefester on Sat 12th Apr 2014 03:39 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

Cars should have a controls like a classic sportscar or aircraft - individual white on black analogue dials, rocker or rotary switches and slide controls. The instruments and switches should be able to be easily removed and individually replaced at low cost.

MGB dash:

http://www.gentrylane.com/s/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/74mgb_dash.j...

Reply Score: 5

RE: classic design
by ilovebeer on Sat 12th Apr 2014 05:22 UTC in reply to "classic design"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

What good would that do? Nobody has their eyes on the road 100% of the time they're driving, and when you total the cost of manufacturing those individual parts, it would probably come to more than one of the many common lcd screens and low cost controlling mini-pc.

Getting rid of all the mechanical parts in favor of a screen & computer can be cheaper to make and maintain once the car makers quit being noobs about it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: classic design
by saso on Sat 12th Apr 2014 12:35 UTC in reply to "classic design"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

Cars should have a controls like a classic sportscar or aircraft - individual white on black analogue dials, rocker or rotary switches and slide controls. The instruments and switches should be able to be easily removed and individually replaced at low cost.

The days of the old rattly, noisy and smelly clunkers are over. You seem to forget that cars back then were far slower, less safe and emitted considerably more harmful exhaust gases then they do now (remember leaded gas?). Cars were also considerably more expensive relative to the buying power of the average consumer, so they had to last longer. Today consumers are extremely conscious of things such as crash ratings, comfort and emissions.
In short: move over grandpa.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sat 12th Apr 2014 05:15 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Tech in cars is here to stay whether you like it or not. Good UI design will help minimize driver interaction, and voice control is only going to get better if you're someone who prefers that.

I'm far more concerned with people texting on their cellphone while driving than people fiddling around with their in-dash stereo/gps.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by Hayoo! on Sat 12th Apr 2014 11:18 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
Hayoo! Member since:
2013-04-13

Tech in cars is here to stay whether you like it or not.

Agreed. Especially considering that migrating to electric motors is inevitable; we'll have to abandon fossil fuel sooner or later.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by saso on Sat 12th Apr 2014 12:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

"Tech in cars is here to stay whether you like it or not.

Agreed. Especially considering that migrating to electric motors is inevitable; we'll have to abandon fossil fuel sooner or later.
"
No, we'll just have to stop using fossil fuels, which however does not necessarily mean abandoning the venerable ICB. Hydrocarbon fuels can be manufactured nowadays from a variety of sources, and have definite advantages to battery-electric cars:
1) They are extremely energy dense.
2) They are liquid at room temperature and ambient pressure.
3) All of the infrastructure for shipping, handling and selling them is already in place.
4) Consumers and society at large already knows how to deal with them in day-to-day life.
So don't underestimate hydrocarbon molecules' potential for being a very good store of energy. In fact, cars' gas tanks and BEVs' batteries are all essentially the same thing: chemical storage for energy. Except in one case, the energy comes out as heat and in the other as free electrons, either of which can be used to do work.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sat 12th Apr 2014 15:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

New battery/energy storage and energy transmission technologies are developing quickly right now. That field is very active and there has been a number of breakthrough that could become game-changers. If so, I could easily see the production, shipment, storage, sale, consumer use of `gas` becoming obsolete in favor of electric.

However, we already know that technology, even when ready for mass-use, is often times shelved because oil & energy companies aren't finished squeezing every penny possible out of the old outdated stuff yet. Consumption is the name of the game and the more efficient things are, the less profit they see. Giving us the latest & greatest works against their business model therefore the latest & greatest gets shelved to collect dust.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by saso on Sat 12th Apr 2014 22:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

New battery/energy storage and energy transmission technologies are developing quickly right now. That field is very active and there has been a number of breakthrough that could become game-changers. If so, I could easily see the production, shipment, storage, sale, consumer use of `gas` becoming obsolete in favor of electric.

The key word here is "could" - we frankly don't know yet, as these technologies still have limitations and relying on unproven developments as your only option is always risky.
Anyhow, without specifics, I assume you're talking about lithium air batteries, which have much better energy density than lithium-ion (comparable to gasoline). While true, the primary limitation of BEVs is not just energy per unit mass - this has been amply demonstrated by the Tesla Model S and its 300 mile range. The primary limitations are:
1) Cost: capital costs for batteries are HIGH. This significantly influences the BEV value proposition.
2) Lifetime: battery packs age and ultimately go bad. Sure it can take a while (8-10 years with proper temperature management and optimal charging), but when they do, you're looking at a lot of money to replace them.
3) Charging: can you do a business trip of, say, 700-800 miles in a BEV? In a hydrocarbon powered car, easily. Stops only take 5-10 minutes every 400-500 miles, so most of the time you're zooming along and at 70mph average it'll take 10-12 hours tops. Using a BEV like a Tesla Model S, stopping optimally every 200 miles for a 45 minute recharge at a supercharger station is gonna add around 3 hours to that - the opportunity cost for that needs to be factored in. And that's assuming the current state of the art in charging (and pushing beyond 120kW charging is going to be hard), running along an optimal route (what if superchargers aren't available?) on a car that costs $70k. Now consider that any hydrocarbon powered vehicle can do the same, faster, while costing a fraction of a Model S. "Budget" BEVs (I mean, is $30k+ for a Nissan Leaf really "budget"?) can't even begin to approach the hydrocarbon car fleet here. You'd need to be stopping every ~70 miles (optimistic range for a new Leaf at highway speeds) for 45+ minutes at a 50kW CHADEMO fast charger and that'd add a good 7.5-8 hours extra (so around 18-20 hours total for the same trip, almost double).

However, we already know that technology, even when ready for mass-use, is often times shelved because oil & energy companies aren't finished squeezing every penny possible out of the old outdated stuff yet.

Take that conspiracy hat off and consider hard physics here for a while. Modern cars, be they hydrocarbon or electric, are starting to hit on the limits of what's physically possible. Quantum leaps are going to be extremely hard to achieve, primarily because these systems are already optimized as heck. This isn't IT, where exponential improvement is the norm.

Edited 2014-04-12 22:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sun 13th Apr 2014 01:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Lithium air is one but it's not the only. The news in this area over the last 6 months or so has been about new technologies, reduced cost and/or cost-effective, durability, reduced charge times.. Basically everything you're talking about. I'm not going to knock any of the new prospects until all the numbers are in. If even just a couple pan out it's good news.

Regarding technologies being shelved to prevent profit disruption -- that's not conspiracy theory by any means. It's not even new subject matter. We know this happens and companies don't really even put much effort into hiding it. That aside though, I disagree that these technologies have already peaked. Tremendous leaps forward do happen and I see no reason for there to be an exception here.

Of course I don't have a crystal ball and don't presume to know what the future holds. But, to imply that what we have now is about as good as it's going to get, ...I'm not buying that at all.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by saso on Mon 14th Apr 2014 09:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

Regarding technologies being shelved to prevent profit disruption -- that's not conspiracy theory by any means. It's not even new subject matter. We know this happens and companies don't really even put much effort into hiding it.

Name names. When making claims, support them with evidence.

That aside though, I disagree that these technologies have already peaked.

Not what I said.

Tremendous leaps forward do happen and I see no reason for there to be an exception here.

Not in the established fields where we've already accumulated extensive knowledge and pushed the physics to the limits. For example, don't expect any sedans to have a Cd <0.2 - achieving this low a drag coefficient requires enormous sacrifices in design. The only two examples of cars with a lower Cd I can think of are the VW XL1 and the GM EV1, neither of which I'd hazard to call pretty or practical (for one, both cars are about a foot lower than your average modern compact car, significantly limiting head room and seating comfort). This is not something that can be remedied by smarter shape design, these are extremely hard physical limits of aerodynamics. (Ever wonder why all modern airplanes look almost the same and engineers celebrate a 5% increase in efficiency?)

Now of course there is room for disruptive innovation from unexpected places, perhaps some kind of super slick coating that dramatically lowers contacting air flow drag (famous shark skin-inspired swimming suits come to mind), however, at the moment, none of this is suitable for automotive mass production and it's not clear when and if it ever will be.

Of course I don't have a crystal ball and don't presume to know what the future holds. But, to imply that what we have now is about as good as it's going to get, ...I'm not buying that at all.

And that's not what I'm trying to say. What I'm trying to explain here is that improvements, going forward, are probably only going to be small and incremental at best. All of the low hanging fruit has been snatched up already. It's possible that somebody will spring up with a great idea that's been overlooked all along, but I wouldn't bank on it.

Reply Score: 3

Here's a better idea
by cmost on Sat 12th Apr 2014 13:07 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

Just keep this crap out of cars entirely! Where I live, distracted driving has become so problematic that people are being killed. It is impossible for a human being to accomplish true multi-tasking, yet everyone thinks they are able to simultaneously drive, text, tweet, take phone calls, eat and fiddle with their in-dash computers all at the same time. If these clods want to kill themselves, fine, just leave innocent bystanders out of it. I'm tired of seeing these people swerving out of their lanes, running through stoplights and slamming on their brakes to avoid sudden traffic shifts because they weren't paying attention. If you're at the wheel of a moving car, then your first and only priority is to get yourself from point A to point B safely; anything that distracts from that is dangerous and should not be present in the car.

Reply Score: 4

Blind leading the visually impaired
by Verenkeitin on Sat 12th Apr 2014 14:00 UTC
Verenkeitin
Member since:
2007-07-01

Car dashboard usability blows at the moment because of touch screens and hoping for Apple or Google to fix that is just hilarious. They know even less about doing an in car UI than car manufacturers. Heck, Google has been trying to get Android to work on phones for ears now and it's still a usability disaster.

Reply Score: 2

somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

Car dashboard usability blows at the moment because of touch screens and hoping for Apple or Google to fix that is just hilarious. They know even less about doing an in car UI than car manufacturers. Heck, Google has been trying to get Android to work on phones for ears now and it's still a usability disaster.


touch screen in car is probably worst idea possible, not to mention any android/ios ui (touch swipe reliant i mean, ui would surely be able to be done as it needs) would be creating new levels of bad.

as much as i don't like idrive in my bmw7, ui and handling is not half as bad as any other in this article. but, i have to say i preferred old "lots of buttons" in bmw5 i owned before. it required way less effort and looking on screen to do any op, not to mention it felt safer to manipulate while driving.

though, i have to admit i kinda want to see Tizen-IVI they are working on

Reply Score: 4

I see the problem...
by deathshadow on Sun 13th Apr 2014 04:32 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

... and it's VERY apparent if you know anything about accessibility standards for things like Web Design -- RE guidelines like the WCAG...

The problem? Photoshop Jockeys and other artists putting their artsy fartsy form ahead of actual FUNCTION. You see the same problem in web development where people are more immediately impressed by flash than substance resulting in endless sites that are usability train wrecks and completely useless to visitors, regardless of how pretty they are.

These car interfaces reek of the same sort of nonsense, where much like 1WTC they hired an artist to draw a picture of a building, without asking if they had the architectural knowledge to make anything taller than 3 stories; hence why 13 years later and after dozens of false starts and endless cost overruns it's unlikely to even open this year (despite claims of it doing so).

The artsy fartsy types (and being one we can smell our own) are pissing all over usability with their 'design'! They outright ignore all sorts of issues like colour contrast in regards to legible text, how serifs can't be rendered properly on most screen targets due to the low DPI (say it with me, serif is for print, sans is for screen!), viewing angles (as pointed out in the article) They even throw out decades of usability studies and sure as shine-ola don't seem to want to bother running any!

It's time for a few of the engineers to do the world a favor and kick the various Photoshop jockeys and their kine right in the nerts. They're ruining everything from a usability standpoint and to be frank, most of them don't know enough about accessibility, usability, or actual interface design to be designing but two things... and jack left town.

Because at the end of the day it doesn't matter how pretty or flashy it is; if people can't use it, what good is it?

Edited 2014-04-13 04:34 UTC

Reply Score: 6

What about security?
by jgmills on Sun 13th Apr 2014 21:31 UTC
jgmills
Member since:
2005-12-15

Have we forgotten about security? At least keep the entertainment system completely separate from the drive train systems. Being able to introduce a virus by simplying playing a specially-crafted CD is really stupid. I understand this is possible now, with sudden acceleration or braking the result. This is one place we don't want a central computer system.

Reply Score: 1

RE: What about security?
by zima on Tue 15th Apr 2014 23:25 UTC in reply to "What about security?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

But drive train systems are separate; "sudden acceleration or braking" is elderly people slamming gas or brake pedal by mistake...
(ultimately, it goes down to not using manual gearboxes; when you use one, you train yourself to press clutch together with brakes, so accidental "sudden acceleration" is impossible; note that there appears to be no reports of such incidents from places where manual gearboxes are the norm)

Reply Score: 2

True
by jal_ on Mon 14th Apr 2014 10:18 UTC
jal_
Member since:
2006-11-02

"In-car software is absolutely horrifying and crazy complex" - So, so true. My < 1 yo Prius Wagon has an absolutely horrible main console, and a very shitty and buggy multi-media system. I mean, the radio, CD and USB drive apps are clearly desigend by three different teams, using different icons, fonts, buttons and overall look and feel. Geez...

Reply Score: 3