Tuesday, November 04, 2008

BMW Updates to iDrive's second generation

Another shot at getting the iDrive right ...

"That automaker was BMW- and their innovative iDrive system was first presented in 2001 as a solution to end dashboard control overload. iDrive was designed to give its master the ability to seamlessly employ essential vehicle functions via the single console-mounted controller and a multi-function display in the instrument panel. Despite some fairly negative reviews over the years, the system was fairly easily leaned by most, and proved a success. Like many original and successful creations, iDrive spawned many spin-off variants from the competition like Audi's Multi Media Interface and Mercedes-Benz's COMMAND system. Hyundai's Genesis even has an available iDrive knockoff.

For instance, a 500-person test-panel was used in a variety of real world and laboratory situations to help develop the system. Participants from several countries helped BMW narrow their options down into four potential choices for the next-generation iDrive before the best one was selected. Criteria included minimized distraction, time and complication in entering or retrieving information.

Systematic comparisons showed that test subjects became more comfortable more quickly with BMW's new iDrive than with similar setups offered by other manufacturers. Additionally, BMW says that their new iDrive will allow users to navigate many of its functions in a 'blind' state- without the need to look at controls or displays whatsoever. Operating in a blind state would be nearly impossible with a touch screen, as it lacks the tactile feedback provided by the iDrive control knob. It's comparable to a computer user navigating their system with a mouse.

iDrive's central knob can be rotated 360 degrees, tipped left to right, forwards and backwards or depressed fully. Corresponding menus and maps are displayed on an updated centre screen, available in 8.8 or 10.2 inch sizes with a full-color display resolution of 1,280 x 480 pixels. This resolution is good for graphics comparable to those on a high-definition television."    (Continued via Auto123)    [Ergonomics Resources]

iDrive - Ergonomics


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