3D touch surface: design, usability and safety

User experience in automotive interiors is changing as we move from physical dials and switches to displays and touch surfaces.

However, currently the displays seem to be often large and flat, meaning obtrusive design, leading to poor usability and causing undue driver distraction. When replaced with a 3D touch surface, the driver can easily find the controls blindly and concentrate on driving.

Canatu’s technology is responding to the needs of future design and better user experience. Safety is also a key aspect for Canatu: Blind operability of 3D touch surfaces enhances the user experience and safety. Creating elegant, functional designs and avoiding unnecessary distractions through the use of intuitive 3D operating controls, are two sides of the same coin.

The 3D touch controls can be discreetely integrated to the interiors for a sleek look and unobtrusive in-car experience – which is important, as the role of the interior changes dramatically in the transition toward autonomous driving. Functionalities can be “hidden” to be visible only when needed. Touch surfaces can be combined with displays, and varied surface materials such as plastic, glass, leather or textile, enabling the creation of an ergonomic and comfortable cabin interior with more space.

When touch interfaces are implemented, the number of actual controls can be reduced since any given control can be linked to multiple functions via software depending on the use mode.

The replacement of physical control buttons with in-molded touch surfaces means increased space in cars due to fewer parts. Reduced weight of parts benefitting the energy conscious electric cars and decreased assembly times in manufacturing result in total cost savings for the automotive industry.
3D Touch – for operating controls and displays find many applications areas in the interior, in door panels, dash boards, center consoles, seating, steering wheel, roof modules – and hitherto functionless décor parts could be functionalized.


Author: Robert Metzger


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