Ever since the original iPhone and iPad launched we’ve been infected with big screens and we seem to want bigger and bigger as the time passes. There is no doubt that this craze influenced the auto industry and it is common that every car nowadays has a big touchscreen as a part of its infotainment system. However, in some vehicles, you have to tap the screen a few times to get it to do the job. No swiping, just touching, but it seems that things are changing at least for Acura.
We have noticed how the display appeared better during the latest test of the 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec ($42,800) and it was more responsive and looked all around quite sharp and crisp. This Acura is the first of its kind to use a capacitive touchscreen beside the one that is not touch-enabled but is also there. If you connect your iPhone to it, you will be able to use all of the Apple CarPlay features without having to tap on the screen like a maniac. That way you won’t get distracted while behind the wheel with some dumb issues.
We also looked for the Google Play Music app which is the more used one nowadays and one swipe to the right later we’ve found it. It was a relatively quick glance and swipe movement that didn’t distract us from the road. Considering that TLX A-Spec is a beast capable of producing 290 hp and can be a little bit feisty in the ‘sport plus’ mode, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled to the road as long as you can. Focus on the road, not on the bloody display! Selecting apps that have smaller icons has also been easy even though they were on the far left of the CarPlay screen.
We mentioned how the display looked good and it really did, the colors were vivid and it all looked quite clear. The difference is huge when you start the Maps app, that clarity and crispness sure comes in handy with apps such as this one. We zoomed in and out with such ease, and the level of detail was great you’ll never doubt again whether the road ends sooner than expected or if it curves around the whole lake. This bright screen is a clear indicator of even better things to come in future.
Some concept cars have dashboards that are completely turned into touchscreens, but we think that it still might not be so practical because of the safety issues. One day it will be a certainty but that day is yet to come. We also had a chance to take a peek at Lexus LC500, and its locks on the doors were lighted, and they resembled icons. This brings attention to an interesting concept of touchscreen locks. You press your finger on the lock and moment later it unlocks. Wouldn’t that be cool? We believe that it will arrive in the near future and become a standard feature of all cars.
We’ll see how it will work and surely there will be problems in the beginning. Imagine having to get out of the car or having to get in, and the lock fails you. How would you feel if a particular gesture doesn’t let you out of your vehicle? You would be trapped inside, and that is a bigger problem than being unable to start an app on your phone. These things have to be well thought over before put into use. And of course, we’ll have safety issues. What if these touchscreen features cause unsafe levels of distraction in future? Even if it all works perfectly well. Think about it. That could be a huge problem.
With autonomous driving the full-car touchscreen is inevitable. Autonomous driving will give more time to the driver inside the car and we’ll probably Skype during our driving sessions or maybe even text each other (do not text and drive though). We are excited about this, and we hope to see some of these features in 2018.