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The Human Machine Interface

5 months ago

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Daniel Forster | Young writer


4 December 2023

To form an opinion on some new car, you should drive it. But if you can’t do that, poring over the technical information will at least tell you something. I do it myself. First up, for me, is the specification of the engine. From there I’ll continue down the spec sheet and reach a conclusion about the car’s merit, which may or may not bear a close relationship to the truth.

I’m sure the experience of poring over power outputs, acceleration times and suspension layouts is one shared by many Ti readers. But these statistics are becoming less interesting by the day. After all, comparing the pool table-flat torque curves of a Tesla Model 3 or BMW i5 makes for soporific reading. There is, however, one aspect of the car that remains integral to the enjoyment of driving which cannot be listed so easily in the tech spec. It has become known as the Human Machine Interface.

The HMI, and how to get it right, has been plaguing car manufacturers for as long as there have been cars to manufacture. It is, on its surface, a simple problem. How does the machine communicate information to the driver and how does the driver deliver commands to the machine? Basic, yes?

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