Increasingly sophisticated on-board entertainment, navigation and information systems are among the must-have features of today's premium cars, but adjusting and monitoring their functions can risk taking a driver's attention away from the road ahead. Designing a centralised control system that is simple to understand, intuitive to use and likely to cause the least distraction from the job of driving was a key challenge for Lexus in designing the new Lexus RX 450h.
The solution is Remote Touch, a new control device that is one of many innovative features in the new full hybrid luxury SUV. It allows more functions to be selected and adjusted than a touch-screen system, presenting information on a display that is located at a more user-friendly height and reading distance from the driver.
Remote Touch makes its world debut in the new Lexus RX 450h and forms an integral part of the new Lexus Navigation System. It also provides control of the audio, navigation, climate, phone and set-up functions.
The design principle is just like that of a computer mouse, making it simple and intuitive to use, with touch feedback.
The slim, ergonomically designed Remote Touch device is positioned on the centre console, immediately below the gear shift. It is linked to an eight-inch VGA display screen, set in a recessed housing on the top of the centre console.
The central element is the controller, which governs the movement of a pointer left and right over icons on the display screen - the Graphic User Interface (GUI). When the appropriate icon has been selected, the user pushes the Enter button - like the left-click action on a mouse - to activate the function or control.
To make it easier for the driver to select an icon, the Lexus RX 450h's system automatically 'pulls' the pointer to an icon if it passes close to it, using the control's haptic reaction force.
The GUI can be customised to suit personal preferences for the sounds the system makes for enter/selection/failure, the reaction force strength and the shape and size of the pointer.
As part of the new Lexus Navigation System, Remote Touch is fitted as standard to SE-I and SE-L grades of the new Lexus RX 450h, and can be specified as an option with satellite navigation on SE models.
The new Lexus RX 450h full hybrid luxury SUV is available to order now, with customer deliveries from July 2009. On-the-road prices start at £41,600 for the SE model.Published 29 April 2009