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Hyundai shows common sense by promising to keep buttons in cars because touchscreens are dangerous

By Kenny Yeo - on 23 Mar 2023, 10:10am

Hyundai shows common sense by promising to keep buttons in cars because touchscreens are dangerous

The interior of the new Hyundai Kona (Image source: Hyundai)

Touch controls are generally regarded as being modern in cars but they are dangerous.

A recent test found that it took a user a whopping 32.5 seconds to complete four tasks in a Tesla Model 3, which famously ditched physical buttons for an almost entirely touch-based interface. The same four tasks took just 10 seconds in a Volvo V70 from 18 years.

Luckily, Hyundai is aware of the dangers that touch controls can cause. And at the launch of the new Kona, Sang Yup Lee, Hyundai's head of design, confirmed that the company will stick with physical buttons when it comes to things that could impact safety.

Lee said:

We have used the physical buttons quite significantly the last few years. For me, the safety-related buttons have to be a hard key.

The problem with touch controls is that almost all of them require the driver to take his or her eyes off the road to hunt for where to press. Some actions are even worse because it's buried somewhere in some obscure submenu somewhere.

Lee shares the same sentiments.

When you’re driving, it’s hard to control it. This is why when it’s a hard key it’s easy to sense and feel it.

This is why the new Kona uses physical buttons and dials for its media controls and HVAC system, the two things that drivers are most likely to use every day. 

But don't think that means it's low-tech. It still has two 12.3-inch integrated digital displays for everything else – stuff that you don't often use or won't need to access daily.

Besides, carmakers didn't switch to touchscreens because they are better, they did it because it's cheaper. It's less complex, and therefore cheaper, to engineer a single large touchscreen display into the interior than it is multiple physical buttons.

Perhaps one day a car will become intelligent enough to be commanded solely by voice or it could make decisions on its own. But until that day comes, the old ways are sometimes the best.

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Source: Carsguide

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