Looking at the automotive user
interface and how it has changed,
in particular throughout the past
decade, we see a lot of changes and
challenges when it comes to usable
and at the same time safe interfaces. Driven by technical advances,
assistance systems, and especially
by consumer devices, we expect the
number of functions in the car to
increase even further throughout
the coming years. This means consequently that the hierarchical CID
menus that provide access to different functions will become more
and more complex. Even if controls
provide haptic feedback, browsing
through the menus to find a desired
function will require a lot of the
driver’s visual attention and cause
driver distraction. A revival of the
initial paradigm of one-to-one mappings can be observed in BMW’s
concept of “functional bookmarks”
[ 13]. For frequently used functions,
such as radio stations, favorite settings, or navigation destinations,
shortcut buttons can be used. When
a finger approaches a (user-defined,
freely assigned) bookmark button,
visual information about the function of the button is provided on the
screen. Once the button is pressed,
the function is activated. Functional
bookmarks combine the benefit of
haptic controls with personalized
interaction. If the driver knows the
function assignment by heart, he or
she can operate these buttons eyes-free and speed up his or her interaction time enormously.
As long as the task of driving a car
is not completely automated, visual
attention should get diverted away
from the road as little as possible.
Since the audio channel is already
occupied by other activities in the
car such as talking to passengers
and listening to the radio, in the
coming years haptic and tactile feed-
7. Richter, H., Ecker, R., Deisler, C., and Butz, A.
Hap Touch and the 2+ 1 state model: Potentials
of haptic feedback on touch based in-vehicle
information systems. Proc. of the 2nd International
Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and
Interactive Vehicular Applications. ACM, New York,
8. Spies, R., Blattner, A., Lange, C., Wohlfarter,
M., Bengler, K., and Hamberger, W. Measurement
of driver’s distraction for an early prove of concepts in automotive industry at the example of
the development of a haptic touchpad. In
Human-Computer Interaction. Interaction Techniques and
Environments, LNCS 6762. J. Jacko, ed. Springer,
Berlin/Heidelberg, 2011, 125-132.
9. Maier, T., Schmid, M., and Aleko, P. HMI with
adaptive control elements. ATZautotechnology
8 (2008-07), 50-55; http://www.atzonline.de/
10. Van Erp, J.B.F. and Van Veen, H. A.H.C.
Vibrotactile in-vehicle navigation system.
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology
and Behaviour 7, 4-5 (2004), 247-256.
11. Kern, D., Marshall, P., Hornecker, E., Rogers,
Y., and Schmidt, A. Enhancing navigation information with tactile output embedded into the steering
wheel. Proc. of Pervasive Computing. Springer,
12. Asif, A. and Boll, S. Where to turn my car?
Comparison of a tactile display and a conventional
car navigation system under high load condition. Proc. of the 2nd International Conference on
Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular
Applications. ACM, New York, 2010, 64-71.
back in the various forms described
here will receive more attention in
the development process of automotive user interfaces. The simplest
and already most common usage of
tactile feedback is to alert the driver
about potential hazards or to raise
his or her attention to further visual
information shown on the display.
The fact that more driving-related apps and personal devices
that are not or are only partially
integrated into the system find
their way into the car raises new
challenges, but also provides new
opportunities for haptic feedback.
Add-ons such as steering wheel
or seat covers that provide haptic
feedback can be offered by third-party suppliers, together with an
associated app for a smartphone.
Overall, we assume the task of
designing automotive user interfaces
will remain challenging throughout
the coming years. New functions
and technologies will continuously
find their way into the car and want
to be operated while driving. At the
same time, driving safety needs to
be maintained and even improved.
Therefore, the main goal is to keep
driver distraction low, for example,
by reducing the necessity of visual
attention other than to the road.
By using haptic or tactile feedback,
an additional modality can be used
to pass information to the driver.
While tactile feedback has already
found its way into the car for basic
warnings, it will be interesting to
see how additional haptic feedback
will be integrated into future cars.
1. Kern, D. and Schmidt, A. Design space for
driver-based automotive user interfaces. Proc. of
1st International Conference on Automotive User
Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications.
ACM, New York, 2009, 3-10.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dagmar Kern works as an HMI
developer at Bertrandt
Ingenieurbuero GmbH in Cologne,
Germany. She studied media
informatics at the University of
Bastian Pfleging is a research
assistant at the Institute for
Visualization and Interactive
Systems (VIS) at the University of
Stuttgart. His general research
interests are multimodal and natu-
ral user interfaces. In particular, he
is interested in human-computer interaction in the
automotive context. He received his M.Sc. in comput-
er science from the Technical University of Dortmund.
March + April 2013
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