Idea: Configurable User Interfaces in Cars

People spend a lot of time in their cars and we currently have to adapt to the car rather than have the car adapt to us. Why don’t cars move to configurable heads up displays? When I drive, I have to move my focus from the road to the speedometer, mirrors, and fuel gauge. This information could be made more usable, which would increase safety and improve the user experience.

Gamers are comfortable with heads up displays. The user interface has data that players are used to seeing. For a first person shooter (FPS), for example, you will see health, a map, the weapon and armor left. In a sports game, you see the score, the time remaining, etc. Modern games allow users to configure the interface as they choose and people eat it up. Browsers are now doing similar things with addons/extensions. If you don’t like the look and feel of the places where you spend time, you can change them. Cars should do the same.

In my case, I’d like a digital speedometer and compass superimposed ┬áin my field of view. I don’t need to see fuel levels, temperatures, or anything else unless there’s an error so blank those while driving. I’d also love a mini-display of the cars around me. The car could use sensors to find other obstacles and provide a map—no more blind spot!

The only similar idea I’ve heard of is factory customization for the Scion. You could choose any five of the thirty options (different wheels, floor mats, improved stereo, paint job, etc.). Where’s the end-user programming for vehicles?

A simple roadmap to success: make all the gauges digital then allow users to configure how and where they are displayed.

Sound good? Would you buy a car that you could customize more? Isn’t software great? :)