A human-centric approach to vehicle controls?

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According to Mazda, the design language of its cars is centered around the Japanese concept of Jinba Ittai – a sense of oneness and connection between car and driver – and when its first all-electric production vehicle, the MX-30, arrives in 2021, it will embody this human-centric approach to design.

Mazda flagged up the air condition controls as a case in point, and noted that the MX-30 is the first vehicle to feature touchscreen climate control, with the system’s design goal being to make occupants feel ‘enveloped in openness’. Featuring a 7in touchscreen display at the front of the console, the system serves as a control panel which adjusts temperature, air flow and seat heating throughout the interior.

The auto maker said that the functions displayed in a simple fashion and grouped intelligently so users can adjust the climate controls in iterations of 0.5° or swipe to alter in steps of 3°; these functions can be performed quickly and intuitively to minimize distraction from the road ahead.

In keeping with the Jinba Ittai link, Mazda noted that while the touchscreen has a functional value, it has also been developed to appeal to the senses and enhance the perceived quality of the cabin. For example, based on analytic data on human characteristics, the company designed the touchscreen display to influence the driver’s mood before setting off on a journey.

When the power is switched off and the driver gets in the car, a graphic appears on the touchscreen that subtly changes in appearance depending on the time of day and temperature to stimulate a relaxed ambience. Once the car is switched on, the screen reverts to the air conditioning controls.

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