Our readers have given a German court decision a lot of attention. Not by chance: it decided that the driver was to blame for using the windshield wiper speed control on his Tesla Model 3. That led him into an accident – luckily with no victims apart from the EV and some trees on its way. The guys from TanvasTouch believe their solution could have avoided that entirely.
What this company offers is a touchscreen with haptic tech. In other words, it allows the driver to sense the commands and menus instead of only seeing them, as the video above shows. By feeling the texture and effects, anyone on the wheel does not have to take eyes from the road to know what they are dealing with.
We imagine it takes some time to learn what each menu controls, but that probably depends on the programming each car company that adopts TanvasTouch decides to use, as Traci Hailpern told us.
“The technology itself is highly versatile and can be customized between different applications (and even different surfaces if the automaker wanted custom interfaces for door panel controls or seat heating controls designed into upholstery).”
Yes, you read that right. According to the company, the technology can be applied to almost any surface, not only to a screen. Plastic, ceramics, glass, metals, and natural surfaces can have the haptic tech given they get “patterned electrodes on the surface,” insulated “with an automotive-quality hard coat.” It would be just a matter of printing the controls to those surfaces for people to know where they are, and that’s it.
Is it compatible with Android Auto or Apple Car Play, for example?
"The OEM would need to specify our technology, which can be layered on top of existing software and the interactions synchronized with existing UI (though we would recommend creating a touch-first HMI concept vs. visual-first to capitalize on the true benefit of tactile effects)."
Good to know, but would that be enough to avoid legal issues in places where driver distraction is to be avoided? Only Tesla would be able to answer that, mainly because people might keep trying to see the commands on the screen. The fact is that this technology is fascinating. It is on automakers’ hands to make it useful or not.