Improving cars climate controls using vocal assistants

Usability of new cars digital screens is a safety and CX problem. On my “Cars digital experience analysis” article I already listed the main functions that should be always accessible while driving.

Mercedes S Class 2021

Today I’ll focus on climate controls that in some cars are disappearing for economic and style reasons. They are indeed really expensive to design and produce and they need always some space precious space to be positioned.

Talking about climate controls some automakers like Tesla, VW and Mercedes are mastering the famous “less is more” line but what about accessibility?

My idea is to use vocal commands not only for modifying the temperature or solving specific tasks, but even for opening main sections on the infotainment screen.

It seems pretty banal, but from my research there are cars that understand “my balls are cold” command and none that simply open the climate controls sections saying a particular word.

Saying “temp” or “climate” for accessing to the detailed climate controls on digital screens reduces drastically drivers cognitive effort and distraction.

Here’s my low-def animation where the vocal command represent the beginning of a safer interaction between the driver and the infotainment.

Some automakers like Jeep are maintaining physical and digital controls.

While other automakers like Mercedes and Polestar are fixing the digital climate controls on the bottom simulating the physical position.

This solution increases the accessibility to the climate controls, but for me decreases the other functions usability because mixes many navigation patterns.

Climate controls section of the Mercedes MBUX system on S class 2021
Polestar 2 2021

I hope that this small contribution to the cars usability could be useful for the industry. If you are interested in talking with me, feel free to keep in touch.

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