Dashboards, simplified

DETROIT — The engineers working on Honda’s new Acura MDX luxury sport utility vehicle were obsessed with giving customers more — more space in the rear seat, more fuel economy from a high-tech engine, and above, all, more apps, maps and connectivity.

In an effort to simplify the newest Honda vehicle, which went on sale in June, the product team was determined to streamline the instrument panel. For the new MDX model, more than 30 buttons have been eliminated. The change was emblematic of the challenge confronting automakers in the age of the connected car. How does a car company give customers the technology they crave without overwhelming them with complicated controls that can impair their ability to drive safely?

via Designing Dashboards With Fewer Distractions - NYTimes.com

Two of the key design features are voice activated commands and stationary position functionality where driver-initiated actions can only occur when the car is in park.

Expect that the next generation will have features that are more automated like the new versions of instant speed adjustments relative to cars in front of drivers. Between better sensors and intelligence systems, drivers should have fewer decisions to distract them.