As someone who still very much prefers physical buttons and knobs in car interiors, I wasn’t very enthusiastic to learn about Audi’s switch to dual touchscreens. However, the brand’s new Touch Response MMI system has proven to be better than expected, even for an old soul like myself. In the future, though, even the few buttons that remain in current Audi interiors will be gone, all replaced with touch controls. Not only that but augmented reality (AR) Head-Up Displays (HUD) will replace even some touch controls.
According to Audi design boss Marc Lichte, who recently spoke with Motor Authority, the interior of future models will feature an AR HUD that will be able to display all sorts of information and graphics ahead of the driver. If you aren’t familiar with augmented reality, it’s technology that superimposes computer-generated images into a user’s view. For instance, Mercedes-Benz currently has an AR navigation system that projects nav instructions onto a live feed of the road ahead, all in the main infotainment system. So you actually see a big arrow form where you need to turn. Audi’s idea could be similar but with AR graphics displayed on the windshield ahead of the driver.
Lichte also wants to do away with the dual touchscreen setup in favor of one massive touchscreen, simplifying things even further. For those who wish to still keep physical controls, the only ones that Lichte is willing to keep are those found on the steering wheel. So if you want Audi to keep its physical volume knob, which remains even on all touchscreen Audi interiors, you’ll have to find it on the steering wheel.
This all might seem a bit too techy and complicated but the best sort of technology is the sort that makes life simpler and easier and this sounds like it might do that. Augmented reality, voice commands and steering wheel controls are far better for a driver than having to glance down at a touchscreen, find an icon and press it accurately before having to look back up at the road again. So while I’ll always miss physical buttons, whose locations I can memorize with muscle memory or find by feel, AR HUDs and advanced voice commands will likely make life even easier.
[Source: Motor Authority]