Automakers have made great strides in improving the average fuel economy of their vehicles, but one area they still struggle in is that of infotainment. These systems routinely prove confusing and frustrating for consumers, causing a number of complaints that drags down vehicle quality ratings.
In-car office equipment company Havis has taken a page out of Tesla’s playbook by adding a large vertical tablet-like touchscreen console called the Integrated Control System to Ford Police Interceptor models. This touchscreen is designed to replace the rugged-but-bulky laptops that many departments use, reports Green Car Reports via Sam Abuelsamid. Though smaller than the 17-inch touchscreen used in the Model S, the 12.1-inch touchscreen is serves an important function for officers needing to rapidly access important information on the fly. The system also comes with a manual keyboard and mouse input as well for technology-challenged officers who still prefer the “old” ways.
Because this is an aftermarket system, there is no saying where Ford stands on the massive touchscreen taking up much of the center console area. While infotainment systems are a frequent source of consumer complaints, Tesla’s 17-inch touchscreen that controls most aspects of the electric sedans functions has been met with almost universally positive reviews.
The Havis system is more wide-ranging, giving officers access to the police database, and because it’s built into the console itself, the chances of it detaching in the event of a crash are pretty much non-existent, unlike the laptops they replace. The bigger screen makes it easier to read whatever the officer is looking for, and the system also integrates radio controls and backup camera into the touchscreen, and the climate controls into a small box on the bottom of the unit.
Many automakers are currently caught between the needs of older customers who prefer manual knobs and dials, and younger tech-saavy consumers who want the latest and greatest technology front-and-center in their new rides. Ford is busy exploring different operating systems for its award-winning but buggy SYNC infotainment system. Other independent concepts have created a more user-friendly interface than found in most cars, and a true infotainment innovation may end up coming from outside the industry from a company like Google, rather than within.
Image: Sam Abulsamid