The growth curve for driver distraction is trending sharply upward as more features and functions to make
†Push buttons and a joystick help keep eyes and minds on the road
concern over cell phones seem simplistic. Preh Automotive of Auburn Hills, MI, is the latest to devise a human-machine interface that it says lets drivers manage many emerging functions with a minimum of effort. "This is the result of a year- long development study," says sales vice president, Nick Lontscharitsch. Preh combines programmable buttons and a rotating joystick that change functions depending on which button the driver touches. In the seat mode, up or down buttons move the seat, while in the HVAC mode the same buttons adjust temperature. The prototype now being shown to automakers and suppliers also includes a touch sensitive pad that lets users write in phone numbers or touch one from a list. Touch and audio feedback are also used to give users feedback so they donít have to look at screens.
While most observers feel voice recognition will eventually be the HMI of choice, it has proven difficult to implement in vehicles sold throughout the world, prompting a number of alternatives to arise.
For more information on HMI, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4400-522