Touch screen opinion piece in the NYT. I totally agree.

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Touch screen opinion piece in the NYT. I totally agree.

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Touch screen opinion piece in the NYT. I totally agree.

  • Touch screen opinion piece in the NYT. I totally agree.

  • James Pace

    May 24, 2022 at 7:03 am

    For those of you with a subscription to the New York Times, you might find this interesting:

    I totally agree with the author. For many controls, touch screens take way too much time to operate safely in a moving vehicle. Why are manufactures headed towards throwing everything on to them? It’s cheap.

  • Jonathan Reni

    May 24, 2022 at 7:12 am

    I definitely agree, and commented this on their recent twitter post. Having to access all settings via the touchscreen is the only aspect of the Aptera that I’m not looking forward to.

    • larry kaiser

      May 24, 2022 at 7:44 am

      Could you program where the buttons appear on the touch screen? If you could put the most important/most used button in say the lower left-hand corner and the next most used in the lower right-hand corner and then to the upper right and upper left one could get used to them and they would be easy to find. the buttons commonly used when you are parked could be distributed wherever.

      • Jonathan Reni

        May 24, 2022 at 9:41 am

        Absolutely- an excellent UI would minimize the inconvenience. I consider myself pretty techy- I have long kept up with the latest gadgets and technologies. I think that the premise of the article is framed nicely- tech should fix problems and enhance our experiences. It shouldn’t be adopted simply for the sake of it. I don’t believe that this is a cost issue- I don’t need an obscenely large screen- 6×10 is more than enough. Then incorporate a couple of key physical controls like volume, skip, and AC. I’m not a huge fan of tapping a hard screen more than necessary. The feel of a good button or knob is preferable for me.

  • John Malcom

    May 24, 2022 at 7:45 am

    Nearly all EV manufacturers are migrating to touch screen controls. It is cheaper (Not a bad thing for us too) and easier to update. I drive a Tesla Model 3. It took me some time to become accustom to the interface, but now it is second nature to me.

    My grand children (I am 77) think it is great! They grew up with touch screens so it is natural to them. The Millennials and Gen Z’s, now major marketing targets, are receptive so screen controls are here to stay.

    May be aggravating to some, but compared to the other benefits of an Aptera, especially with gas at $6.00+ a gallon, worth the effort to accommodate.

    • John Smith

      May 24, 2022 at 8:12 am

      To quote Elon Musk “the best part is no part”. I know that on my old ICE cars there are knobs and switches that haven’t been used in at least five years if ever. That then raises the question of why are they there? A waste of time and money.

    • Dennis Swaney

      May 24, 2022 at 8:57 am

      Unfortunately Touch screens require you to look away from the road as you drill down to find the control you’re looking for. I like having HVAC, Cruise Control, Stereo, etc controls in my steering wheel or on the attached stalks so I don’t have to remove my hands from the wheel or eyes from the road. Sounds like the NHTSA needs to standardize touch screen locations to only immediately in from of the driver for safety.

      Fewer Millennials/Gen Zers are driving cars so they don’t understand the safety problems with touch screens.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Dennis Swaney.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Dennis Swaney. Reason: Fixed typo
      • kerbe2705

        May 24, 2022 at 9:05 am

        Physical switch locations in vehicles that have them aren’t standardized yet people learn to locate and use them.

        Most automotive touch screens have a “taskbar” on the home screen that contains the most frequently-used “buttons” – there’s no need to delve into menus to change common settings while driving.

        I’m also amazed by the number of people who insist upon their need for a physical volume knob (Ford Mach-e, I’m looking at you…) when there is invariably a volume control of some sort on the steering wheel and/or a voice command available in most modern vehicles.

        • Dennis Swaney

          May 24, 2022 at 2:55 pm

          True, but you DON’T have to look at the physical knobs to operate them, nor drill down in a multi-page menu to find the control you need.

    • Joshua Rosen

      May 24, 2022 at 9:28 am

      Touch screen interfaces need to be well thought out, as long as the functions that you need to change while driving are on the home screen and the screen is responsive they work fine. I have a Model 3, it didn’t take me long to adapt.

      The advantage of touchscreen interfaces is that they can be changed. It’s also easier to adapt a vehicle from right hand drive to left hand drive because all that has to move are the pedals and the steering wheel. The dash board will be the same either way, the only thing you have to do is move the hole for the steering column.

      Saying that there are somethings that should always be on stalks, the gear shift, the directional indicator, the wiper controls. Those are things you need to be able to change without looking.

      Entertainment controls have to be on a touchscreen, buttons worked for radio but in the age of streaming services they aren’t practical. HVAC isn’t a real time function, having it on a touchscreen is fine because you can wait until it’s safe to make those changes.

  • John Trotter

    May 24, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Getting used to voice commands can help. I’ll admit I’m not there yet on my Tesla, but conceptually it’s a good approach to not losing attention. I hope Aptera does a good implementation of this feature — even better than Tesla.

  • Paul Evans

    May 24, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Joshua, the fly in your ointment is that NOBODY has any patience for anything anymore. Somehow, humans have evolved to the point that we have little to no patience.

    The soaring murder rate and flash-gang robberies are just two examples. But I digress…

  • Stefan Obel

    May 24, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Well as a Tesla owner I have to say the voice controls work quite well (unlike those in my Santa Fe – they are useless at best LOL).

    Whether it is controlling the temperature, changing the fan speed, or turning the wipers on or off – the Tesla voice controls work well. No need to get distracted with the touch screen.

    I agree that too much use of the touch screen is an issue – but if you know how the voice commands work you don’t need to touch that much.

    “Lay in course to star base 47, warp 6, engage” 🙂

    • Joel Smith

      May 24, 2022 at 11:03 am

      I’m with you there, Stefan.

      Shame Majel Barrett isn’t still around to voice the computer. I could really go for that.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Joel Smith.
      • kerbe2705

        May 24, 2022 at 11:54 am

        @Joel Smith – boy, howdy, she’d be raking it in doing smart device voice work these days!

      • Stefan Obel

        May 24, 2022 at 12:53 pm

        Oh yes, she would make a great AI voice.
        But not all is lost.

        It usually takes about 100 sentences.
        With all the sound samples (computer and as Lwaxana Troi) there might be just enough to still make it happen.
        Would also add a nice junk of additional $$$ to her estate.

    • Eric Alkema

      May 24, 2022 at 5:13 pm

      Give me a good set of voice commands for anything I would reasonably do while driving (radio, AC, wipers, navigation) and I won’t complain if there are zero physical buttons (well, maybe not the volume control). Make me take my eyes off the road to change radio stations and anyone who asks about the car will hear about it.

  • Tyler Fisher

    May 24, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Moving everything to touch screens makes it easier to update, rather than have physical controls that may become irrelevant over time. And it simplifies interior design. As long as there’s customization and frequently used buttons are available without having to go into sub-menus, I’ll be content.

    • Francis Giroux

      May 24, 2022 at 3:04 pm

      Finally someone used the right word, customization. Didn’t Chris say that everything else that needs to be switch will be controllable by the touch screen? I took that to mean that we would be able to set up the touch screen however we wanted it, put the buttons wherever we want them, all on one screen if we want to or multiple screens if that’s what we want. If this is not the case, why not, in the whole EV industry, why not? One algorithm should enable anyone in any EV to set up their screen and controls in an infinite number of ways, and NOBODY would be able to complain about how it was set up. I want it this way, you want it that way, he wants it standard, you want it your way. The only thing that should be standard it the fact that you can set it up the way you want it, as long as the procedure for setting it up is not stupidly complicated. KISS, keep it simple stupid, so even a child could do it, or in our case, so even a geezer could do it. This includes the ability to use voice commands, or not. And it could also include the programming of the few tactile buttons/levers on or around the steering yoke.

      • John Malcom

        May 24, 2022 at 5:33 pm

        The issue is you can’t make it all things to all people. Software development and testing is expensive and time consuming. The reason nobody in the EV industry does it is because it is neither effective or efficient from the budget and schedule standpoint. Also demonstrated as not necessary as most if not all do OK without that level of configurability.

  • Stefan Obel

    May 24, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    The actual (large?)screen display should be primarily for exactly that purpose:

    To DISPLAY information.

    While driving it should not be a distraction by having to play “find the sub menu that has the button you are looking for”.

    My $300 TV understands a voice command “switch to [news channel]” so I think it is reasonable to expect a modern vehicle will do that plus much more.

  • Juan 911

    May 24, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    I don’t like the giant tablets being stuck to cars nowadays. I want all my focus to be on driving and don’t want a large light emitting screen to be a distraction. Would’ve thought that physical buttons are like keyboards in the sense that we don’t have to shift our attention to look down at a keyboard to know which keys we’re pressing. Can’t say the same when typing on a big tablet screen.

    • Dennis Swaney

      May 24, 2022 at 7:13 pm

      100% agree. Those large displays that not only REQUIRE you to take your eyes off the road, but also allow TV shows, movies, etc to be displayed are 1000 times worse than a handheld cellphone. If displays are required to show movies, TV, etc., then they must be mandated to be out of the drivers vision; preferably restricted to the rear seat occupants.

      • kerbe2705

        May 24, 2022 at 9:16 pm

        @Dennis Swaney “Those large displays” only show videos or play games while the vehicle is parked. In some newer luxury vehicles there’s an entertainment screen in front of the passenger, but it’s out of the line of the driver’s vision.

        In addition, many of the vehicle’s settings menus are locked-out while the vehicle is moving and can be accessed only when the vehicle is parked.

        Drivers of vehicles without touchscreens ALSO tend to take their eyes off the road when they reach to adjust their HVAC or audio controls.

        • Dennis Swaney

          May 25, 2022 at 8:33 am

          That is a step in the right direction but why are those screens in the middle still visible to the driver? If it’s for controls like HVAC, Cruise Control, etc, those controls should be left in the steering wheel and/or the turn signal & wiper stalks.

          On my 05 Jetta, the temp, volume, cruise controls are on 4 steering wheel rocker switches. The HVAC does have 3 dial switches: temp, fan, mixture, along with 2 buttons: AC and Recirculate, which I can reach and adjust without looking at them.

          On my 04 Prius, all HVAC controls were in a touch screen that I had to look at to make change (the steering wheel did have temp buttons in addition). Audio controls for the stereo were also located in the screen though there were also physical pwr/volume and tuning knobs available on the stereo.

          So I have extensive experience with steering located controls and touch screen controls and the steering located controls win out over touch screen. The only thing I felt was missing was a HUD that would show the settings as they changed along with a speedometer. I guess it is too early to request a HUD in the Aptera?

          • John Malcom

            May 25, 2022 at 10:43 am

            Extensive experience.

            But, you kept and drove the cars with the screen controls. You will be able to adapt more easily to Aptera with all of that experience.

            Not too early, too late to request a HUD for the production Aptera. Way past the new feature engineering stage of development. Maybe in a future iteration or the expected sedan variant.

  • Vernon Michael Gardner

    May 24, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    Voice command is a good idea. The tactile feel of buttons, switches or dials becomes muscle memory so you do not have to look for it to adjust it. I dislike anything that takes a hand off the wheel/yoke and your eyes off the road. Yes I know there are great many that use their phone and not a bluetooth, but in most states they will get ticketed at some point. Anything we can do to keep people’s attention on the road increases safety. Until all vehicles are driverless and have cameras in them.

    • kerbe2705

      May 24, 2022 at 11:12 pm

      @Vernon Michael Gardner Just as muscle memory will remember where to hit the screen and be rewarded with haptic feedback…

      And I daresay most drivers DO look to check that they’re touching the correct button or knob when adjusting the HVAC or audio – and quite a few look through the steering wheel to check that they’re using the correct stalk-mounted control setting.

      • Vernon Michael Gardner

        May 25, 2022 at 6:43 pm

        Haptics will go a long way in helping.

        Kerbe, maybe it’s just me but on my 92 Toyota pickup and my 2012 Ford fiesta I don’t look at the buttons or switches anymore. I know where everything is. Cell phones and tablets and touch screens can have the buttons anywhere and you have to still look for them. I know the less parts the vehicle has the less expensive it is. Being from the automotive industry I have yet to find a touch screen that I would use in traffic. I’m willing to try things out and see if somebody comes up with a touch screen with haptics that I feel more comfortable using. My favorite controls are those that are on the steering wheel or yoke. Then of course you need a clock spring to handle the wiring. A touch screen will not keep me from buying the Aptera.

        • kerbe2705

          May 26, 2022 at 10:57 pm

          @Vernon Michael Gardner – it’s not just expense, it’s also weight and complexity: A software control doesn’t weigh anything, nor does it require dedicated wiring.

          I’ve driven my current car for three years and you can tell (when the light is just right) that my aim in punching icons has become deadly – because there are single overlaid fingerprint smudges, like arrows in a target, on the touch screen.

          My car has physical buttons that mirror many of the on-screen functions and also has voice commands that do the same – so I have plenty of choices but use the touch screen most frequently. I suppose it all comes down to the fact that, if you want to drive a vehicle you need to learn its quirks and foibles.

          When my late father turned 84 he decided that the time had come to buy a new vehicle – but his greatest fear was that a new SUV wouldn’t have the headlight switch mounted on the dash in the same location as his 15 year old SUV. (Mind you, this was a man who had driven a Saab for quite a few years – where NOTHING was where one would expect it to be). All it took to assuage his fear was to remind him that he never drove at night: “Oh,” he said, “that’s right, I don’t.” and bought a Subaru Forester the following day.

  • Bob Minor

    May 26, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Im kind of in the middle on this subject. I will say in my experience with touch screens, driving at night can be interesting. You would think that a nice back lit high contrast screen at night would be a good thing. Personally, I’ve found that even with a night time display, your eyes (iris) still need extra time to adjust back forth between the dark road and the screen. That could be an age thing to. I’ve had more luck fumbling around with one hand in the darkness while still looking forward (to the road) finding an actual knob than finding a virtual button. On the other hand I like having all the information I need in one central location that comes with a touch screen.

    I hope the screen interface (protocol) isn’t so convoluted that perhaps a third party vender will create a hybrid screen with some assignable tactile buttons. If not, I think Aptera choosing a touch screen makes sense for this vehicle.

  • Matt Gleason

    May 26, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    I agree. Most argue that more buttons on the wheel mean more parts. However, almost every appliance, car, and game console has had buttons that work well, and consistenly. Throwing a couple D-pads and buttons on the wheel shouldn’t be that complicated, and would significantly improve the instrumentality of the vehicle. My insight has volume, track seek/skip, cruise control toggle and adjust, and a scroll wheel for different GUI menus. I’d like to see climate controls on the wheel, because that’s what distracts me the most while driving. I think putting everything on the screen is too much Tesla copying, as many phone manufacturers copy Apple, along with every goofy notch they add or headphone jack they remove.

  • Gabriel Stillabower

    May 26, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    I agree. Touch screens take way too much time to navigate the screens while driving…it’s why having good voice controls would be ideal if you go to a touch screen only interface. There are some voice controls I wish Tesla would implement like “turn on or off windshield wipers”

  • Scott Ryder

    May 26, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    I don’t think I’ll have a problem using a touchscreen interface or voice commands, but I wanted to share another option for someone who might really want some buttons for the controls. An overlay with tactile “buttons” (or individual stick-on buttons) could be placed over the touchscreen.

    This could potentially have some drawbacks though depending on the interface. On-screen sliders and virtual dials probably wouldn’t work with these “buttons”, and things on screen might change position depending on what pages/functions are being used.

    Here are two different methods of achieving this. In the first video, the presenter even mentions the automobile market (at 3:40): “making a lot of touchscreens dynamically tactile fixes a usability issue with touchscreens in cars”

    Tactus Brings Buttons to Your Touch Screen:

    Mechanical Button Over Touch Screen:

  • Thomas Edmonds

    May 27, 2022 at 11:27 am

    The first time you have to have one of those buttons or switches or knobs replaced, you will wish it was all on a touch screen. Not to mention the initial cost difference!

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