Whenever I listen to a review of a car (mostly on top gear) the reviewers usually complain about the electronic gizmo's within the car. Most notably on reviews of BMW's I-drive system. What people usually find is that the I-drive is unneccessarily complicated.
This brings me on to the new audi a8, launched a couple of weeks back. A lot of people were complaining about the touchpad that audi had included on the dashboard. See picture:
The touchpad is on the console just infront of the gearstick. Looks pretty well positioned to me.
I was talking with a friend and we were contemplating the use of touchscreens and gestures in cars. Things like on wheel buttons and heads-up displays are all great ways to get a driver to interact with the cars systems, but if you've ever tried texting on an iPhone while driving (not reccommended...or legal) you'll be pretty sceptical about the use of touchpads and for in car use. This is why Audi seperated the touch controls from the screen. I've yet to use the system (mainly because I'm not the sort of person who gets let into audi showrooms) but it definately got me thinking.
Are there any companies who specify in automotive interaction design? Basically I'm a Junior Interaction Designer at the moment i'm still considering which area to focus my career on. I'd love to find out if anyone works in a UX/IA company that does work for automotive design companies.