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Driver Study: People Want Fewer Embedded Apps, Just Essentials That Work Easily

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the good-news-for-apple dept.

Transportation 148

Lucas123 writes 'A study released at the Telematics Detroit 2014 conference revealed the obvious: Most people don't want more distracting embedded apps in their cars; they just want essential apps like navigation and music to be intuitive to use and reliable. Part of the study involved a focus group of 46 people who were asked to evaluate infotainment systems from three luxury car makers and four "mass consumer" car makers. The drivers were asked to do three things: Navigate home, find a pizza shop and find a radio station. Only 40% were able to complete all three tasks. Not surprisingly, the highest rated infotainment system was Tesla because its icons were "large" and it was easy to figure out.'

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Need to be able to use without looking at it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182545)

For any in car control - I need to be able to use it without looking at it.

Too many things fail at this.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47182795)

In theory, sure. In practice, we're not all perfect super drivers who pay proper attention to the road at all times, and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183029)

>and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

Maybe not for you, but idiots that will not be able to do so safely won't understand that fact, because they're idiots. Adding distractions in cars puts us all at risk.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183291)

There is a bit of exaggeration in this - surely the distractions in new cars are distracting but hey you are supposed to have some level of self control and intelligence. Maybe that should be part of driving license test - if an asshole trying to pass the exam cannot keep his hands where they belong also when his/her mobile phone is doing funny noises indicating info-flatulence of some of his/her so called (interweb)friends then this is the major minus points of which you get 1 means you do not pass. Other than that you are not always driving while in a car. An old US tradition is having sex in a car. I recall also having listening music in the car I just drove for extended period of time AFTER I assembled a tent and got myself a cold beer etc. Clearly I could have gotten myself a mobile boom-device but why should I if I have one in my car. A friend of mine is doing car sound system extensions and what he says is that for some the car is the only place where they can listen to their music at the loud level they like without their better halves, kids or neighbours interfering with the joy.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 4 months ago | (#47183361)

but idiots that will not be able to do so safely won't understand that fact, because they're idiots

There is a substantial body of evidence that passengers are a bigger distraction than electronics. In particular, various studies reported children, teenagers, adults and old people as being sources of distraction.

Clearly we need to ban people from cars

its completely obvious once you think of it!

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

chihowa (366380) | about 4 months ago | (#47183033)

Looking at the console to find the appropriate knob or button is completely different from having to tap through seven different screens of icons to perform a simple task. The goal should be to make regular tasks easy to perform in a normal context. When the context is driving, the design should encourage the driver to keep looking at the road.

In theory, sure. In practice, we're not all perfect super drivers who pay proper attention to the road at all times, and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

From my time on the road, it seems that you're making some serious assumptions about the risks taken by many drivers out there.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47183125)

I'm not saying that everyone does that, just that it doesn't represent the biggest source of distraction based risk.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 4 months ago | (#47183129)

So what your saying is the the GUI designers for the systems need to work instead of just slapping some labels on touch buttons in random order.

The touch control systems fail in not being easy to use. Also Most people look at the dials when adjusting them. Just to make certain they stopped at the correct location.

So looking away for a second or two isn't a big deal. navigating a menu for 6 layers deep to do something simple is. I can't wait for apple to show car companies how to do touch screen interfaces. Or at least google.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#47183257)

I already have Android in my dashboard. a simple double din CHINA car stereo running Android 4.2 is 80X better than any of the crap that FORD or GM has ever came up with.

WAYZE is the best navigation app in the world for User interface, I can even report a cop location with very little attention taken from the road.

I installed one of the older "CAR MODE" launchers and it's even better. I can customize it to hell and back in my driveway and then enjoy ease of use and even voice control to the point that I can say ,"ok google, text my boss that I will be late due to traffic"

BOOM! the text message is off and I did not have to do anything but hold down the home button.

Whatever GM,FORD,Toyota,Honda,BMW,Mercedes, or whoever car company tries to come up with will be a complete worthles turd compared to a dirt cheap $500 Ebay china stereo with regular old android on it.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#47183309)

Google Now Launcher is almost perfect. Putting into a "car dock" mode would be even better, where it is always on. Allowing me to change the default "wakeup" from Okay Google to Okay KITT would be over the top cool for me.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47183337)

Can you recommend your device? Hard to find informative reviews that aren't shills. ...already have the FreedomPop hotspot waiting to serve this sucker.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183615)

Looking at the console to find the appropriate knob or button is completely different from having to tap through seven different screens of icons to perform a simple task. The goal should be to make regular tasks easy to perform in a normal context. When the context is driving, the design should encourage the driver to keep looking at the road.

In theory, sure. In practice, we're not all perfect super drivers who pay proper attention to the road at all times, and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

From my time on the road, it seems that you're making some serious assumptions about the risks taken by many drivers out there.

Except that "relatively safe moments" can become unsafe very quickly! And what is the definition of "very short"? At 50km/h (~31mph, = 13.9 m/s) you will travel around 27m in 2sec, by which time you have flattened the child you chased the ball onto the road, or slammed into the car in front who stopped for the same!

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183639)

the child who chased the ball

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 4 months ago | (#47183233)

In theory, sure. In practice, we're not all perfect super drivers who pay proper attention to the road at all times, and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

No, but after owning a car for a while it should be possible to change the radio station or temperature without looking at the display. This is pretty damn hard to do with touch screens. Physical dials an buttons simply make more sense for most controls like this in a car.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (4, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#47183317)

Exactly. If you can't use the control it without staring at it when it changes at every touch it shouldn't be in a moving vehicle.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (2)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 months ago | (#47182849)

For any in car control - I need to be able to use it without looking at it.

Too many things fail at this.

This is the single reason that I think Google (and later Apple) have developed always-listening voice interfaces "Hey Google/Siri" with no button clicks is about as look and even touch free as you can get. Of course, if voice control were more mature yet, it'd probably be the preferred interface over fingers (see: Star Trek).

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (2)

beefoot (2250164) | about 4 months ago | (#47183101)

For people like myself with accent:


me: ok google, please lower the temperature
google: yes sir, your car is shifted down to 2nd gear
me: no don't do that. I'm driving at 140kmph
google: yes sir, sit tight. the car will accelerate to 140mph
me: not mile per hour
google: sorry sir i don't understand
me: I gave up. stop listening to me
google: yes sir, I will stop the car now. Please ensure the seat belt is on. You're travelling at 140mph.
me: (me on the way to heaven) thank you google

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 4 months ago | (#47183467)

I speak the Queen's standard English, and the result is very similar. I assume some specific American accent is required - but I perhaps it might need to be Korean.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183711)

but I perhaps it might need to be Korean

English, you fail it!

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (-1, Troll)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 4 months ago | (#47182925)

Unfortunately, I don't see simple car interfaces coming back.. not if Google gets "behind the wheel" of the next car revolution. Google Cruse is going to be the next app store for your smartcar, mark my words. Everyone is going to get WAYYY more features than they ever wanted and end up with a car that freezes for 5 - 10 seconds before pulling into drive (just like an android). They'll convince everyone they love it, though, by offering 100 different choices for the voice that naggs you when your gas (battery) gets low and offers you three EXCELLENT choices of stations (2 of which have paid for premium placement in the notification system).

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#47183205)

BMW had that. They even had a navigation system that only talked to you and nobody liked it. Every single person wanted a moving map display.

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 months ago | (#47183417)

Yeah and if I HAVE to look at it, a touch screen (like the one in my old car) takes a single finger point, where that blasted knob clicker thing (in my new car) takes my attention away from the road for a long time trying to figure out how to click the thing I already looked at and know I want.

Who's the idiot that thought that would be easier?

Re:Need to be able to use without looking at it (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#47183477)

There are hundreds of warnings waiting to seize your attention and distract you, one for each nifty wow item that you might crash if it became disabled while driving.

What I want (5, Funny)

clinko (232501) | about 4 months ago | (#47182577)

"The car stereo I wanted 10 years ago"
"The car stereo I want today":

http://i.imgur.com/NGcUN.jpg [imgur.com]

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182661)

Why would you settle for an aux-in port? I want a DIN slot, like cars used to have. Then I can add any car stereo I like, or navigation system with pop-out screen, or even just a place to put my phone, next to that aux-in.

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182743)

That was one of the loudest whooshing sounds I've heard.
Do you design "infotainment" systems?

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183157)

No, I just like flexible standard interfaces. What's wrong with having a place in the car where you can put the electronics that you want, not have cables or anything get in the way, and still have power, audio and more available. I know the aux-in picture is sort of a joke, but at least update it for the times: Nowadays you'd want a USB port with at least 2A (with Bluetooth for the audio, the aux in port isn't useful, but you forgot the power supply, didn't you). In five years maybe you'd want a Lightning port. With a DIN slot, you could provide all of those easily. Cars don't have DIN slots anymore, so you'd have to buy the manufacturer version of the adapter. How is that better?

Re:What I want (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47183347)

A lot of cars have unique form-factors, that's for sure, but a good number of the manufactures have holes that accept DIN and double-DIN devices with a sleeve to match your old front.

Re:What I want (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47182707)

Why would a Bluetooth audio system need a jack? :-)

Re:What I want (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 4 months ago | (#47183413)

Why would a Bluetooth audio system need a jack?

Because the Bluetooth stack is a piece of shit - you have evidently not tried using one of these!

Re:What I want (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47183573)

It doesn't have to be specifically Bluetooth, I was actually aiming more at the idea that perhaps that panel could use one fewer connector.

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183625)

Because the Bluetooth stack is a piece of shit - you have evidently not tried using one of these!

No, the Bluetooth stack is several pieces of shit. Each implementation by the major electronics manufacturers is fubar in different ways and so interoperability is a goddamned nightmare.

Re:What I want (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#47182745)

This.

All I'm reading in TFA is "I want something that is exactly my mobile phone".
Just offer in-dash "car kits" where you just clip the phone in a 2-DIN. (these already exist).
Fancier cars could offer similar for tablets.

Nobody needs a $4000 in-car navigation when their $400 phone already does the same thing better.
Heck, they might even just leave a phone/tablet in permanently and it'd still be cheaper.
"Cheaper" is probably why this isn't a standard option in cars; $4000 for $400 worth of technology is so much more profitable than BYOD.

Re:What I want (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#47182793)

Or just one of these $400-$500 puppies: http://www.dx.com/s/android+di... [dx.com]

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182847)

why the big box contraption? just give me a cell phone sized thing. DONE (and cheap)

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182887)

why the big box contraption? just give me a cell phone sized thing. DONE (and cheap)

Because some people like to be able to take a quick glance at the screen and be able to read it on a larger screen than a small cell phone. Crazy idea that some people might like something else than what you want.

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182899)

why the big box contraption? just give me a cell phone sized thing. DONE (and cheap)

Because if you want sound, you need an amp. Your phone doesn't have an amplifier to drive the speakers - thats most of the bulk/weight of a head unit.

Re:What I want (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#47183373)

" Your phone doesn't have an amplifier to drive the speakers"

The amp is in the (bluetooth) speakers, not in the phone.

Anyway given the background noise, you'd probably want to listen on headphones.

Re:What I want (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182973)

Because, in addition to the larger screen, amp, and real buttons, the in dash systems can be wired up to a rear camera and your radio antenna. Plus, the secure mount point is already there, in a convenient place to reach without blocking your view.
I have a couple of friends with these, and they are pretty nifty.

Re:What I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182841)

> Just offer in-dash "car kits" where you just clip the phone in a 2-DIN.

Do it right with MirrorLink [wikipedia.org]

Re:What I want (1)

ttsai (135075) | about 4 months ago | (#47183549)

Nobody needs a $4000 in-car navigation when their $400 phone already does the same thing better.

I actually prefer the built-in system. For example, I have a limited data plan because my non-wifi data needs are low, so using an online map like Google Maps or Waze costs extra on a recurring basis. With a phone, I would have to go through the motions of removing it from my pocket, attaching it to the bracket, and plugging it in, as well as the reverse motions when leaving the car. I would also need a special bracket to hold the phone, and even with this bracket, the screen would shake more than an integrated system. The phone screen is significantly smaller. The phone audio is not integrated into the car speakers, so audio levels have to be adjusted, and navigation directions sometimes compete with music. The built-in system also has a physical joystick and dial with voice feedback (not to mention voice recognition) so that I can control it more easily than the using the phone's touchscreen.

I do use my phone for navigation sometimes when I drive my older car. But, given a choice, I always prefer the built-in system.

Re:What I want (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 4 months ago | (#47183355)

You forgot the USB port for keeping your phone charged.

Re:What I want (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 months ago | (#47183713)

Close

1) it should be a USB port not an AUX port. (If I'm using a flash drive it should just plug in. If I'm using a phone / ipod / whatever I want it to charge up)

2) It should have physical play / pause / skip / and volume controls.

Several years ago I installed one of these:
http://www.dfwcamper.com/drupa... [dfwcamper.com]

Play/pause, skip are simple. The volume 'knob' is brilliant.

The display is gorgeous, (album art, track, album, song, etc). These days I just have an old 30GB ipod classic in the glovebox attached to it; that I only ever need to touch every few months to add new music, update playlists etc.

It has controls to browse and select playlists, albums, songs etc; but the UI for that isn't as good as it could be. Adequate but not 'ideal'.

Still, its pretty much by far the best in dash deck I've ever used; and I've moved it from car to new car a few times. Its in my wifes car now, as my newest car has a 'too proprietary' dash system to use it easily (fiber optics to the amplifier, low impedence speakers, and the existing radio is on the 'system bus' and the car apparently gets all cranky if you disconnect it... not insurmountable, but $$ and a PITA to get around. So in that car I'm using the 'aux' port -- but I'm seriously missing the ipod charging, and the dash controls for play/pause/skip. So I have to keep the ipod within rach. (At least the old ipods had physical buttons so you can operate them by touch)

lots of more things to break (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 4 months ago | (#47182593)

more time in the shop....profit!

Response time and voice controls (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 4 months ago | (#47182653)

The less time we spend touching the screen, the better one can keep their eyes on the road and avoid becoming absorbed with the gadget. That means sensitive touch controls with very little lag, quick look-up times, and voice inputs. Google/Bing integration would keep data entry to a minimum too; if I've already have a place marked on the maps, I wouldn't have to enter it into the system all over again.

Of course I have no time to watch movies on my screen or visually sort through ads to get what I need.

Re:Response time and voice controls (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 4 months ago | (#47182799)

That means sensitive touch controls with very little lag

No. That means no touch controls. Touch controls force you to look at where you're placing your fingers and what's happening. Actual physical knobs and buttons can be used even without looking.

Re:Response time and voice controls (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 months ago | (#47182947)

And ideally those controls are on the steering wheel so you don't even have to take your hands off the wheel to perform an action.

Re:Response time and voice controls (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 4 months ago | (#47183051)

That means sensitive touch controls with very little lag

No. That means no touch controls. Touch controls force you to look at where you're placing your fingers and what's happening. Actual physical knobs and buttons can be used even without looking.

As can your voice. My car, which is a low-end compact, still has a microphone in the steering wheel and can connect via bluetooth with my portable device. As a result, I can give it commands, and the car stereo system uses voice responses to those commands. I don't need knobs or screens; I just need to give commands and have them be understood. Right now, that last bit is lacking a bit (me: "find pizza hut near me" device: "Playing song named 'be the heart near me,' or even better, 'calling contact Zahuta Earme.'"

Lesson learned: when listening to music, plan your music list before you start your drive. When finding your way to a location, look it up before you drive, and use street view to verify the location was at least correct at some point. Then navigate by keeping those instructions in your head and looking out the window at your surroundings. If you can't see the route, you probably shouldn't be attempting to drive it.

Re:Response time and voice controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183137)

That depends on the control. Between number of fingers and direction of swipe, there's a lot you could do with multi-touch that would make eyes-free use of a device easy.
 
  On a modern car stereo, actual knobs and buttons can't be used without looking except for volume, because they bring up menus to access other functionality.

Re:Response time and voice controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183783)

Touch controls are never intuitive. It's just a brain dead interface. The only reason it's used on smart phones and tablets is because it's small and cheap. It even tries very hard to emulate buttons and knobs.

Re:Response time and voice controls (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 months ago | (#47183449)

No. They can't. They just require me to jump through hoops to click the thing I already knew I wanted 10 seconds ago.

Having had both, I can assure you I am 10x more distracted now with the stupid knob.

I agree (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 4 months ago | (#47182671)

GPS indash included in the stereo, and bluetooth so it interfaces with a cellphone

Mercedes figured this out 6 years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182695)

They scrapped all their work on touchscreens and went with a single 3.5-axis control knob for infotainment control. You never have to take your eyes off the road.

Re:Mercedes figured this out 6 years ago. (1)

ColoradoAuthor (682295) | about 4 months ago | (#47182803)

I'm starting to shop for a car, and I'll be wearing gloves on the test drives. I can live with a capacitive touch screen for navigation, but I'm one of those oddball people who insists on being able to turn on the heat and tune the radio during the winter.

Re:Mercedes figured this out 6 years ago. (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 4 months ago | (#47183255)

If your heat works, why do you need gloves?

Or just get gloves with metal-lined threads on the fingertips.

Re:Mercedes figured this out 6 years ago. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47183415)

If your heat works, why do you need gloves?

You do realize that a car takes a while to heat up when the air is forty below zero, right? And that you don't want to get frostbite from having to take gloves off to touch a screen to turn the heat on before it heats up?

I WANT BUTTONS (3, Insightful)

maliqua (1316471) | about 4 months ago | (#47182757)

Things that i can feel i'm working and not touchscreens!

BUTTONS KNOBS AND TACTILE FEEDBACK!

Re:I WANT BUTTONS (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47182885)

What I've thought would be cool would be a touchscreen that could simulate tactile feedback (maybe through small electric charges, or vibrations). Because for fucks sake, futzing around with a device which uses virtually half of the surface area as input is not conducive to driving in a jittery, bouncing car. (IE mobile phone)

This thread has made me want to dig out my old Minidisk player to use in my car's aux jack vs my touchscreen MP3 player. :( (navigating directories/tracks was so much simpler, could be done with one hand and didn't require taking my eyes off the road while driving... it also got obnoxiously good battery life.)

Re:I WANT BUTTONS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182999)

A minidisc player? Oh god. You're one of THOSE guys. It explains a lot of your ranting posts.

Re:I WANT BUTTONS (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47183037)

dude, there's like 3 of us. (minidisk users that is.) and heh, what ranting posts would you be referring to?

Re:I WANT BUTTONS (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 4 months ago | (#47183009)

NO! no clever touch screens Buttons!!!

buuuuuuuuttttttttttttttttooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnssssss!

Re:I WANT BUTTONS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183043)

You would be surprised what a large format screen like Tesla's does for your attitude towards wanting buttons. I am a convert. I don't need the buttons I once thought I did. With the Tesla, the most important functions are on the steeringwheel and are buttons that proxy touch screen commands, but for all the other stuff that might be difficult during driving. For all the "car standing still" stuff, the touch screen is much more effective.

Re:I WANT BUTTONS (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 4 months ago | (#47183069)

It can have a touchscreen for whatever it wants as long as there are actual physical buttons for all the stuff i care about which is radio climate controls

any features above and beyond that i don't even care if they're included let alone what the interface to them is

Fuck apps, I want a CAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182801)

How I about I want a reliable, comfortable (192cm tall), eco-friendly (150PS to 6L unleaded 95ROZ), easy to repair, insanely practical (big trunk) limousine.

I want more Drivers that just work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182817)

Seriously. I'm ok with better Nav options, as long as the implementation is via heads-up-display.

The rest is only an unnecessary distraction.

On the other hand... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#47182819)

The drivers were asked to do three things: Navigate home, find a pizza shop and find a radio station.

I can do all these things *now* w/o any fancy crap. The radio in my Civic is dead simple to use, and I know where I live and how I got where ever I am now because I drove there. I also know where my local pizza shops are and don't generally go about look for random ones.

I guess Nav systems may be great for traveling and when one is *really* new in town, but other than that, I'm not convinced.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182955)

If you drive in England, you use satnav literally all the time. If you need to get from one road to the next, through a small town, there is often only one correct route that can join you there without having to backtrack. It's similar within Central London. There is quite often only one choice (circuitous, too) of routing between two points. You wouldn't generally figure it out from intuition if it wasn't your neighborhood.

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183643)

In a troll mood - but what are you, a fucking idiot ? London was perfectly navigable as soon as I moved there from the states while learning which side of the fucking road to drive on.

Yeah, sure, the first time you drive somewhere you might need ten extra minutes, but plan that, and you'll know after that. Big fucking deal.

Re:On the other hand... (3, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 4 months ago | (#47183089)

My experience is that people either use the nav system in their head, or they use the one in their car. They have problems doing both at the same time. This means that if you depend on a nav system, you'll always be really new in town, as you'll never learn to associate the instructions with what your eyes actually see out the window.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 4 months ago | (#47183219)

You must either explore your region extensively, or not at all. We regularly drive in ~75 mile radius of our home. To know where everything is would require either that to be a full time activity, or never happen.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 4 months ago | (#47183307)

I use my nav system mostly to see which of three or four routes that I know is least bogged by traffic.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 4 months ago | (#47183333)

So basically you're saying you didn't understand the basic premise or the article.

I can easily navigate home and find a pizza shop normally too, but when I want a navigation system to get home I'm often somewhere where I DON'T know the best route. I might be able to drive back, but if it's a multi-leg trip or through areas without 2-way streets then it doesn't help. Nav systems for normal driving are most useful for when they can route around traffic, since they know more than I can in that situation. Which of the three routes should I take to get home? A couple clicks on the nav system and I'm on my way.

Doesn't surprise me. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182869)

I test drove a Cadillac recently and GM's touch screen looks like it was built by people with zero UI experience. Of course, it's just about as bad as every other modern app. Nobody understands flow anymore. And it's not an American thing either. The same problems plagued touch interfaces on imports as well. Oddly, BMW's is much better than it used to be.

This garbage is so sluggish, too. Adjusting climate controls used to be a matter of turning on a knob. Now, I have to tap on a vague piece of plastic. Nothing happens, so I tap again. Then again. Finally, the fans kick on FULL BLAST... And apparently there are only three speed settings. And seriously, adjusting volume by sliding your finger across a screen? Jesus Christ, whomever thought that shit was a good idea is a fucking MORON... Why have umpteen volume levels if all you can do is wildly skate between 0 and MAXIMUM with barely any control.

I don't care if I sound like the old man on the porch, shaking his fist. These UIs are completely retarded.

Re:Doesn't surprise me. (1)

macdude22 (846648) | about 4 months ago | (#47183143)

I love gadgets, my satchel is filled with phones, tablets, games, radios. I love gadgets. The modern propensity toward touch interfaces in vehicles is frightening. We have a 2013 Dodge Journey and I swear to you adjusting the climate controls on that thing is a road hazard. And you are spot on about it being sluggish, the resistive screen is like using an old VTech kids laptop or something. My 2007 focus, 3 knobs, you could figure that thing out blindfolded (I don't advocate driving blind). These in car systems need to be simple, and tactile. Great we make cars with 17 airbags, your gunna need it because just to operate the turn signal you have to take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. We needed an automobile with a specific set of storage and capacity requirements, the Journey fit the bill (with some caveats). Didn't really matter, any thing else we looked at (Ford, Buick, Mitsubishi, etc...) all had these damn modern UFO based road hazard systems. I thought the Ford Sync one was even worse than the one on this Dodge.

Re:Doesn't surprise me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183251)

Should have got a Honda Odyssey...

Re:Doesn't surprise me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183701)

I can see it now:

Tap Home... Tap Apps... Tap "Turn Signal"... Tap "Left"... Answer modal dialogue: "Are you TURNING or MERGING direction LEFT ?" (complete with odd extra space after "left")... If you are changing lanes or merging, naturally you have to keep your finger on word "MERGING" (because the left and right arrow indicators are blocked by the modal)... If you take too long to complete your merge/lane change, it will pop-up a Clippy window with the query "It looks like you are MERGING, would you like assistance?"...

Meanwhile, you're so frustrated you fail to realize you're now nose down about 50 feet from the rocky shore of Highway 1. Fortunately, the car is smart and it pops up another dialogue: "It looks like you are CRASHING, would you like assistance?"

Re:Doesn't surprise me. (2)

hax4bux (209237) | about 4 months ago | (#47183487)

You sounded old at "cadillac"

Re:Doesn't surprise me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183731)

XTS w/ Twin Turbo producing 410HP says otherwise. No further snark will be recognized as haters gonna hate.

And they charge too much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183535)

What sickens me is a GPS that you can get for $150 is $2,000 when OEM because now it's a "navigation system".

And you have to pay the dealer $$$$ for software updates - if you can get them.

That's why that required review camera is a bad idea. A shitty camera that you could get for $50 is now going to cost $1,000 because they can - All financed. All because some dingbats couldn't put their phones down to look for their kids.

There is something really wrong when folks are looking at 97 month car loans. [msn.com]

WTF is wrong with the World?!

This is what happens when you have old white... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47182889)

people trying to use technology. While they do rule the world and own the most slaves, they are morons. They are used to ordering someone else at the threat of violence to do things for them. Just as they make minorites do all of their yard work, they also force minorites to do everything technical for them. That is the way of their kind. Fuck them and their racism. Again they prove they are not worthy to survive in the modern world. We would be better off if they were all dead.

Re:This is what happens when you have old white... (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | about 4 months ago | (#47182969)

I sense a certain amount of hostility.

Need MS Office embeded (3, Funny)

cyberspittle (519754) | about 4 months ago | (#47182937)

I need Microsoft Office embedded app so I can work on business-critical documents.

Touch controls: NO! (2)

Toshito (452851) | about 4 months ago | (#47182997)

Like the new Lincoln MKZ with TOUCH controls for volume and temperature, on a smooth surface, without any tactile reference. Bravo!

I even hate the push buttons and rotary controls for the heater, it used to be that you could control everything with 2 slides, one for temp and one to choose where to send the air.

It was very easy to know, only by touch, where the slides are. With a rotary button, you have to look at it to see where it is pointing. And the push buttons are also much less convenient, if I have to put the control on front defrost quickly (because the windshield is suddenly fogging) with the old controls I only had to slide it all the way to the right.

Now I have to find the front defrost button wich is the second to the right, flush with all the other buttons.

Even in some car manuals of the 70's and 80's it was stated that if you want to defog or defrost the car in an emergency you just put all the slides to the right or to the top (depending on the orientation of the controls) without thinking, it will automatically put the heater to front defrost,maximum heat, full fan, outside air (no recirculation).

It's the same problem with almost every interface today, from electronics (think about how easy and fast it was to change the volume or choose the input on a 70's Receiver, with it's big buttons compared to receivers of today with it's tiny buttons and display you have to look at)

Don't get me started on volume and mute controls. Why don't laptops get a physical cut off switch as a mute button? When I power up my laptop in a library or at school I have to remember if I put it on mute the last time, and if not I need to wait for the mute button to become responsive but since it's controlled by software and a certain driver, it becomes usable right after Windows decide to play it's login sound. Very annoying. How much would it cost to put a physical switch to cut out the electrical signal to the speakers???

I think we're moving backward with UI, today look ingenuity and trend is more important than usability.

Now get off my lawn!

Re:Touch controls: NO! (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47183387)

I haven't figured out how I'm supposed to use a touch-screen in my car when it's forty below zero and I'm wearning thick gloves.

Re:Touch controls: NO! (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 4 months ago | (#47183635)

Its not just cars - the F35 fighter plane has touch screen controls!

If you think manipulating a touch screen on a bumpy road is bad, imagine trying to do it while making 6-G turns in a fighter. In turbulence I sometimes have trouble hanging onto physical knobs on my 50 year old Beechcraft.

At SLAC we have installed real physical knobs to control the accelerator and they work. Operators can look at displays and have the tactile feedback of moving a control. It speeds up machine tuning.

Touch screens are a way to save money, but in most cases do not improve the user interface.

(Damn kids,, don't know how to design a UI like they did in my day....and the music they listen to.....grumble).

I just bought a new car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183047)

The UI of the gadgets is what made my final decision when purchasing a car. The Ford Fusion has moved everything from physical buttons/knobs/etc to two god-awful touch screens. I am an extremely tech-savvy individual - that isn't the problem. The driver's screen is usable because it has a few physical navigation buttons (I think up/down/ok) and it's easy to read, but it is a bit limited in what it can do. The main touch screen requires sliding, tapping, and 15 minutes of futzing around just to get your music, climate, and nav all set up for your drive. I ended up purchasing a Mazda 6 which has its share of downfalls, but it has temperature and volume knobs, plus a few other extremely useful physical buttons. It's actually mostly usable while driving (tuning the radio is a pain, though).
I love the idea of a screen that can display info about your bluetooth device, have a speed dial, your top radio stations, info about songs, etc... But the 90's got the UI right for a car. Leave my dials alone. Touch can't replicate them.

Re:I just bought a new car... (1)

sk999 (846068) | about 4 months ago | (#47183593)

I recently had a Ford Fusion as a rental. It was a hybrid, which I had never driven before, and it took most of a day of trial and error to figure out which combination of this-and-that you need to do to even start the thing. It had the Microsoft In Sync system, which I never figured it out. In fact, I couldn't even figure out how to turn off the radio - could only turn down the volume. On the plus side, it did perform quite well as a car (that driving thing).

specs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183083)

This is why I always use Waze or Google Maps over a car navigation system. They're so poorly designed that it takes forever to do anything. I think they design features like this into cars just to say they have them in the specs.

Correct! (1)

aseth (893952) | about 4 months ago | (#47183127)

I have a 2006 Prius and just recently we got a 2014 Prius V... And the '06 has a vastly superior navigation system. The '14 comes with crapware-loaded Entune and some of the worst user-interface decisions I've ever seen in a product.

I like that it shows me the traffic, but it'd be nice if they licensed Google Maps for the information so it'd be closer to accurate. And it'd also be nice if roads in cities weren't grey-on-grey with grey text. (Why are you showing me that I'm in a city by changing the background to grey anyway? Is the population of the current governmental entity really critical information when driving?)

It's also somewhat amusing - but also irritating - to see garbage like Bing or MovieTickets.com in the car screen, which work if you connect them to the internet on your smartphone... But if I have my smartphone in the car, wouldn't I check movie times on that, instead of a never-updated slow app whose interface was designed by someone that wears their pants on their head?

Cartoon Cars? (1)

thevirtualcat (1071504) | about 4 months ago | (#47183161)

Many cartoons over the years have made jokes about people adding completely ridiculous things to their cars in the name of convenience. They usually end up in a hilarious, hubris-fueled accidents. Unfortunately, it's turning out to be a lot more prophetic and a lot less hilarious than anyone wants to admit.

Poor Dataset of Infotainment Systems (2)

Amigori (177092) | about 4 months ago | (#47183169)

If you're going to do a study on automobile infotainment systems, you need a broader set of data: 46 people with 7 types of systems, 2 of which are very uncommon. This dataset sounds like they just asked around their office and of the 46 people that work there, only 7 employees had any sort of infotainment system, 3 being the bosses.

Want to do this study right? Go rent 10-12 cars with the various systems, park them at Walmart one day and survey, park them at the mall the next day and survey, park them at the fancy downtown shopping district and survey, and then hold a private dinner for the upper-class folks and survey. 4 distinct groups and hundreds or thousands of data points.

Be sure to include systems that actually are used: Toyota Entune, Ford Sync, GM/Chevrolet Intellilink/MyLink, Honda HondaLink, Dodge/Chrysler Uconnect, Nissan NissanConnect, Mazda, Volkswagen, BMW ConnectedDrive, Mercedes Comand, and Cadillac CUE.

Come on, how many people actually have a Porsche with an infotainment, or a Tesla? Seriously, Ford sold twice as many Fiesta's in the US last year than Tesla has sold total.

What's Automotive equvilent to Windows Update? (1)

kmg90 (957346) | about 4 months ago | (#47183191)

It's not just that embeded apps in cars are garbage "new" but I've yet to see an car that has constant support for the newest innovations and devices (USB ports not compatible with new phones) that give the car owner reason to try to use said features when there is a big chance things that they will try to use with it in a year or two will not function due to the car not being updated to support them.

How do you provide updates to car? Auto manufactures are already pretty closed chested with the basic computers that are in most cars post 2000.
I understand cars are heavily regulated but I don't see internet-capable cars happening anytime in the near future as that opens up a bunch safety and security concerns.

What corner case (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 4 months ago | (#47183287)

Is somebody that is buying a new car and does not own a smart phone? I do not want much in the way of smarts. I want a nice sunlight readable touchscreen, buttons on the steering wheel (more are better), and a HUD. The stereo should turn into an amp and radio tuner (maybe a USB storage interface) for the cellphone. The screen buttons etc should slave themselves to that same cellphone. Nice to haves might be a fixed GPS for better reception, OBD access to get vehicle info. All this can happen today via Bluetooth and wifi (for the screen casting). Expand the qi charging spec to have a magnetic mounting. The point being is cars last a decade or more the electronic systems only a few years before being outdated. Sure put in some default radio and environmental controls just in case, it can probably also function as the bridge from Bluetooth to the can bus or whatever the car uses.

too many things to learn (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#47183341)

Moreover, people tend to replace their smartphones every two years or so, and when you get a new phone you may have to completely reconfigure your infotainment system in order to use the new apps.

My wife an I have two vehicles with completely different controls (Subaru and Chevy). When we take a long trip we rent a car, different make every time. Don't tell me I need to learn all those different Infotainment systems, that won't happen. We have phones that we know and a Garmin GPS (because Google screwed up Maps Navigation on Android last summer). That's all we need.

sad (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47183353)

Unfortunately, what we want/need is not what we're willing to pay for. When we're sitting at the dealership for 10hrs strait, wondering how society has devolved into such a state that you can't just walk in and buy a car without being force to wait through the most soul crushing nightmare of a sales pitch ever created... and we get presented with $25k Ford that has a basic radio, and a $25k GM that has a touch screen that does... well we don't know, but it's pretty. Our reptillian brain takes over and we go with out caveman "Me want more!"

Cars are built to make you buy them. It's just a side effect they have a use after purchase.

Re:sad (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#47183503)

If you sat in a showroom for 10 hours strait (sic) you're doing it wrong. Decide ahead of time what you want and how much you'll pay. Make an offer, if they don't like it - get up and walk away.

What I need. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183421)

Maybe it's just that I'm old-fasioned but I don't see what's wrong with your basic stearing wheel, ignition, gear shift, mirrors, lights, engine, and windows. I've alwasy been irked by the fact that these days a computer connected to the internet controls the car. At *least* provide the option for a true manual override (meaning FULL DISCONNECT and OFFLINE). Of course, I'm sure anyone born after 1990 won't understand the word "offline."

We already have phones... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183443)

I'm perfectly happy using my phone. Just make a cradle for the phone (with charger), add a screen to display what's on my phone, and add controls (both voice and tactile) that allow me to control it. That's all.

What I want in my car... (1)

sevenisloud (1688814) | about 4 months ago | (#47183587)

What do I want in my car? 4 wheels (plus a spare in the boot), pedals and a gear leaver (that are physically connected to the things they control), an engine, seats, windows that open and maybe a radio. Anything else is just something to fail or distract me from what I'm supposed to be doing (driving). I'm not old enough to be a stick in the mud but I like having a car that is relatively simple and easily maintained.

I don't want any (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47183759)

I have a CD player and drive a 94 dodge ram for a reason. Manual windows, 4x4 and that's all I need

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