If you like your dashboard to function like a 1970s stereo, then you’re an outlier in a society that increasingly desires a Minority Report-style driving experience, according to Automotive News.
A five-year forecast by industry analyst IHS Automotive predicts a steep increase in manufacturer demand for high-tech vehicle controls, meaning more touch screens, gesture controls and voice-recognition technology.
This also means the buttons, switches and knobs that were once the hallmark of moderns vehicles (“Look at all those buttons – you must be rich!”) could soon be rarer than a Kia K900.
Over the next half-decade, IHS predicts that sales of voice recognition technology will rise by 12 percent, while touch screens and gesture controls will rise by 13 and 35 percent, respectively. Steering wheel switches will see an 11 percent bump in sales, while good old-fashioned button controls will rise just two percent.
“Consumer electronics are a leading indicator for [cockpit controls] in the car,” explained IHS analyst Mark Boyadjis.
For automotive purists, this trend is tantamount to heresy. After all, buttons, knobs and switches lend an intimate, tactile element to the driving experience. Who doesn’t like feeling like they’re in the cockpit of a 1950s Stratofortress circling a fail-safe point in the High Arctic?
Many people, apparently.
Offering “the latest thing” is the norm for the auto industry, which once offered dashboard record players and drink sets, so there’s a tradition at work here.
Having an ultra-modern cockpit can be great advertising, but automakers risk turning off buyers if their state-of-the-art infotainment technology becomes known for being difficult/annoying to use.