Speaking to Autocar recently, Thierry Métroz, chief designer for DS (Citroën”s premium offshoot brand), expressed a desire to “revolutionize” car interiors by getting rid of all screens.
Although useful for maps, for the most part screens are a distraction when driving. The days of a dedicated switch for key functions were far superior to having to take your eyes of the road to select on a display screen or heaven forbid — go into menu layers just to adjust something as necessary as climate control. There’s little question drivers’ eyes are off the road for far too long trying to use them.
“It’s a big trend at the moment to have [a lot of] screens, but I think it’s a little bit stupid, because in fact to have not any more dashboard, only a big screen, isn’t our philosophy inside DS,” says Métroz. “Our target is to delete all the screens in our future interiors. The problem with the screen is when you switch off your screen, you’re just left with a rectangular black surface with all the fingerprints. It’s not very sexy; it’s not very luxury.”
The automotive industry, starting with Tesla has embraced touchscreens because, driven by software with an easy to program user interface, they replace physical mechanisms and allow automakers to aggregate a wide range of functions into a single system that can be shared between models.
Taking them out again, then, poses a problem: How do we control the increasingly complex functions of a modern car?
“Of course we need to deliver the information for the driver,” Métroz continued. “It’s a big challenge.” It’s one that Métroz was not forthcoming in saying what the solution might be, stating only that screens will require stand-ins that are “less intrusive” and offer “more serenity.”
If Citroën’s innovative thinking is to come to the automotive forefront again and set a new benchmark, could the result be in a revolutionary yet practical means to rid us from display screens?