Touchscreens in cars: how the world of infotainment is changing

Without a touchscreen, a brand new car may be a bit of a disappointment, as consumers expect in-car infotainment these days. 

Even so, the industry is currently divided on how to approach infotainment systems.

The safety of in-car touchscreens has been called into question, yet it appears no one is sure what to do about this industry standard. 

Some companies are choosing to increase the size and usability, whereas others are ditching touchscreens in favour of the classic head-up displays.

In this blog, we’ll be highlighting the pros and cons of the infotainment systems we have become accustomed to.

Things to love about touchscreens

Consumers demand the latest technology in every new product, so a car with a dated system is unlikely to be well received.

For consumers, outdated technology means missing out on the latest features and spending unnecessary time on an old system.

They are convenient (and legal), keeping people constantly connected. The average person is addicted to the online world, making in-car connectivity almost an essential instead of just a cool feature.

After introduction over a decade ago, these systems are pretty much an industry standard (with base models nearly the only new cars that don’t have them), making them a customer expectation.

A 2017 Deloitte report indicated that consumers are increasingly interested in the features provided by infotainment systems – with route tracking/navigation and maintenance consistently valued features. 

Essentially, this means that consumers rate infotainment systems as valuable and important for car functionality.

Things not to love about touchscreens

Screens can be distracting for many people. 

Distracted driving is one of the main causes for car accidents today and the links between infotainment systems and accidents are crystal clear. 

Studies have shown that distractions are consistently a leading cause of yearly road accidents.

Users also need to be tech-savvy to operate necessary functions – thereby alienating novice tech users.

Technology becomes obsolete so fast, so regular updates are a requirement. Car owners will likely find themselves visiting their dealership constantly for system upgrades.

So, what now?

Like many other things in life there are reasons for and against in-car touchscreens, but it’s clear that they are here to stay.

However, changes are on the horizon – as car manufacturers compete to have the best market offering. 

Mazda, for example, have paved the way by replacing touchscreens with new and improved head-up displays, receiving mixed reviews from consumers.

That doesn’t mean that the entire industry is on board with Mazda’s innovation. Ford have proven this by introducing 15-inch screens, effectively wiping out the standard 8-inch.

Touchscreens in cars

Maybe the technology isn’t to blame. Perhaps it’s how people use it.

Even if head-up displays are the way of the future, no one knows whether they will reduce road accidents. Perhaps people will turn to their phones more frequently in order to remain connected to the online world (and everyone knows how bad using your phone while driving is).

Technology is constantly changing – and in-car infotainment is no exception.

What’s next? Watch this space.