In recent years, car manufacturers have begun to ditch physical buttons for controlling various increasingly advanced infotainment system functions in favour of capacitive buttons or touchscreens. But South Korean carmaker Hyundai believes that moving functions to a screen can be dangerous and promises to keep the traditional buttons for activating the most common functions in its cars in the future.
Hyundai’s design chief thinks touch screens are “dangerous”
According to Cars Guide, Sang Yup Lee, head of Hyundai’s design division, said that buttons will remain in the company’s cars to ensure a high degree of safety. Even the latest version of the Kona uses a row of physical buttons to activate most of the car’s interior capabilities, from the air conditioning to the audio system.
“We’ve used physical buttons in a significant way over the last few years. For me, the buttons that are safety-related have to be physical. When you’re driving it’s hard to control [un ecran tactil]when you have a physical button it’s easy to feel it. […]
We’ll continue to use physical buttons. When we get to level 4 autonomous driving, we’ll move everything to software buttons, but until then, like I said, when it comes to driving it’s safest to have your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”
Many brands, including those in the luxury area have in recent years gone to capacitive, non-pressing buttons, while many functions such as controlling air conditioning or audio systems have moved to the touchscreen on the center console. Some brands offer vibrations for haptic feedback when pressing buttons, but it’s still hard to tell what you’re pressing, since you can’t feel the shape of the touch buttons.
Such solutions are also much cheaper to produce and easier to design. However, when it comes to cutting costs, you’d expect this to be more likely in budget brands, not luxury cars like Ferrari and BMW.