Acura touchpad aims to cut confusion, distraction

Acura’s centre stack is getting an extreme makeover with the introduction of a new touchpad-controlled full HD display screen in the ’19 RDX.

“(Our goal) was to make a system that’s not only easy to use, but easy to learn,” Steve Hansen, chief engineer for the vehicle, tells WardsAuto in an interview.

The new touchpad-based HMI system with a single screen replaces Acura’s old, controversial dual-screen layout that used both a touchscreen and dial to control access to menus and functions. It created confusion among some users about what functions could be accessed in which screen.

The new touchpad – lying horizontal in the centre console, in easy reach with the driver’s right hand – aims to improve ease-of-use by corresponding directly to the screen: Touching the electronic pad is like touching the actual screen. For instance, tapping the upper left corner of the pad gives access to virtual buttons in the upper left corner of the screen.

“Our goal was, once you identify how to use the system, it’s very intuitive to use,” says Hansen of the touchpad’s “absolute positioning” technology, which the brand says is a world-first application.

Because Acura says its research shows vehicle owners like to consistently see navigation and audio information displayed while driving, the wide, 10.2-in. (26-cm) screen is divided into two zones, roughly a two-thirds/one-third display arrangement. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.

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