Physical buttons are safer to use than infotainment screens

Physical buttons are safer to use than infotainment screens

In an era where touchscreens have conquered the passenger compartment of our cars, with screens of ever larger dimensions, it is not uncommon, however, to read some perplexities related to the difficulty of use and the slowness that could be encountered in accessing or activating some specific functions. . In this regard, the Swedish editorial Vi Bil├Ągare conducted a test highlighting the problems always hypothesized but never measured.

Journalists tested 11 modern vehicles equipped with touchscreens of various sizes and an older 2005 Volvo V70 equipped exclusively with buttons, buttons and wheels. To find out which system was the fastest and therefore the safest to use, the journalists asked each driver to carry out a series of simple tasks to be carried out inside the passenger compartment. For example, people were asked to activate the heated seat, increase the cabin temperature, activate the defrosters, turn on the radio, reset the computer and dim the instrument panel lights.

All tasks of reasonable difficulty that any driver could do in a limited time, especially on older cars. In the 17-year-old Volvo V70 it took the driver just 10 seconds to complete all the operations; at a speed of 110 km / h, it took about 300 meters. Similar speech for the Volvo C40 and Dacia Sandero, which took 417 and 414 meters respectively. Bad news for anyone who owns or wants to buy a MG Marvel R; in this case it took 44 seconds and 1.3 kilometers to complete all the operations. It is not clear whether the time is due solely to the difficulty of use or whether, also, to the slowness of the system.

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More in detail, the ranking is as follows:

Volvo V70 - 306 meters Dacia Sandero - 414 meters Volvo C40 - 417 meters Subaru Outback - 592 meters Mercedes GLB - 616 meters Tesla Model 3 - 717 meters Nissan Quashqai - 765 meters Volkswagen ID.3 - 786 meters Hyundai Ioniq 5 - 815 meters Seat Leon - 895 meters BMW iX - 928 meters MG Marvel R - 1372 meters Are physical buttons the solution? Yes or rather ni, it depends. For example, although BMW iX combines physical buttons with touchscreen systems, it appears to be one of the more "complicated" cars to use. It took about 30 seconds to cover all functions, however 3 times longer than the Volvo 17 years ago. In all vehicles with touchscreen infotainment systems, it took drivers an average of 24.7 seconds to perform all required tasks, which is almost 2.5 times longer than with the system without a screen. | ); } In our tests we have sometimes recorded difficulties in using some entertainment systems and above all a slowness above average of some interfaces. While some manufacturers have invested time and resources over the years to develop increasingly advanced, precise and sophisticated systems (which may not always be a positive aspect), others have limited themselves to inserting compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, leaving in the background simpler and more everyday functions. The results of Vi Bil├Ągare do not surprise us particularly, even in our in-depth study dedicated to electronic mirrors, a novelty truth limited to some specimens, we had suggested that so much technology could have compromised on-board safety.

What now remains to be done? Designers will have to understand how to simplify some actions and interfaces to make systems faster and more immediate. Some manufacturers, such as BMW and Volvo / Polestar, have already started a few months to reduce the size of their panels so as to make the experience less dispersive and focused only on a single screen. Volvo, for example, offers a series of (highly customizable) shortcuts that ensure that a specific function is called up in a very short time.

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