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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Hooray for Mazda

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Mazda has just announced that it will rid its cars of touch-screen control interfaces, something I was beginning to fear I'd be stuck with the next time I need to buy a new car:

touchscreen.jpg
Image by John Schnobrich, via Unsplash, license.
"Doing our research, when a driver would reach towards a touch-screen interface in any vehicle, they would unintentionally apply torque to the steering wheel, and the vehicle would drift out of its lane position," said Matthew Valbuena, Mazda North America's lead engineer for HMI and infotainment.

"And of course with a touchscreen you have to be looking at the screen while you're touching ... so for that reason we were comfortable removing the touch-screen functionality," he added. [format edits]
Touchscreens for everything has always struck me as a fad, and it's nice to see that we won't necessarily have to suffer with such an awful design decision. On car rentals, I have had to deal with touchscreens and found that they added an unnecessary level of difficulty to what had been and should be simple operations. On top of that and the two major safety issues noted above, I absolutely hate having a glowing rectangle in my field of view when driving at night. I may have to live with that, but at least there is now a good prospect that having to look directly at as I drive might be off the table.

I have been a Honda man for almost all of my driving life and, for a bit over a year now, a Subaru man. But I will definitely consider Mazda if they stick to their guns, and nobody else takes notice.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and better. Blindly applying new technology to already-solved problems does not necessarily lead to improvement and can actually do more harm than good. I am glad to see that at least one automaker has stepped back from what I would call, with apologies to Richard Feynman, cargo-cult technology.

-- CAV

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