Garmin hopes to reduce driver distraction with a new multi-sensor
controller for built-in infotainment systems. The engineers came up with
this new idea after many jurisdictions brought in distracted driving
laws, prohibiting the use of electronics in the vehicle.
unique control panel allows users to manipulate audio, apps,
communication and navigation features with a rotary infrared controller,
a touch pad and menu mode buttons. The information will be displayed on
screen positioned higher on the dash than previous built-in systems, so
that is in line with the driver's eyesight.
The benefit of the
infrared integrated into the rotary controller is that it will detect an
approaching hand and display menu options on the screen before being
touched. Important information, such as navigation instructions are
continuously displayed at the top of the screen, with the menu options
Another component that uses the infrared
technology is the radio preset buttons. When these infrared sensors
sense a finger, it automatically displays a highlighted preset image on
the above screen. The driver would then select the button they want
based on the visual cue.
Garmin's infotainment systems also
include many other driver safety and convenience features, such as
Bluetooth for hands-free calling, text-to-speech, voice command and
traffic services. New options that can be tied to these systems are HVAC
controls, vehicle diagnostics and apps from a smartphone. These are all
designed to work together to keep the driver and passengers out of
potentially dangerous situations.