Hyundai Committed to Keep Physical Buttons Alive

Hyundai, like other automakers, has hopped on the dual-screen bandwagon, mounting large tablet-like displays on the dashboard. Yet, the South Korean automaker is doing things differently since it has not abandoned traditional controls.

While several rival companies are simplifying their interiors by incorporating most functions into the central touchscreen, many things inside a Hyundai can still be accessed by just touching a physical button.

hyundai kona 5b

For example, the 2023 Kona, the newest vehicle from Hyundai, is displayed here with a pair of 12.3-inch displays, below which there are numerous conventional buttons and a few knobs. According to Sang Yup Lee, Head of Hyundai Design, the decision to keep the traditional controls was made primarily for safety reasons. He said:

“When you’re driving it’s hard to control it [the touchscreen], this is why when it’s a hard key it’s easy to sense and feel it.”

Lee said that Hyundai will keep hard buttons as long as feasible, but it’s only a matter of time before most functions are integrated into the touchscreen. He was referring to automobiles equipped with level 4 self-driving technology, which eliminates the need for a steering wheel and pedals. The Society of Automotive Engineers defines level 4 automation as requiring no human interaction. Because the automobile would be handling all of the driving in this situation, utilizing a touchscreen would not pose a safety issue.

hyundai ioniq 6 67

Hyundai is continuing to use conventional controls in the meantime. Even a futuristic-looking vehicle, like the Ioniq 6 electric sedan, offers shortcuts for the air conditioning and other frequently used features outside of the touchscreen. But, Lee believes that for the time being, while we’re still operating motor vehicles, it’s “safest to have your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.” Eventually, everything will be repositioned inside the big screen.

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