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Dashboard-wide hyperscreens are “a little bit stupid” says DS designer Thierry Métroz. Picture: SUPPLIED
Dashboard-wide hyperscreens are “a little bit stupid” says DS designer Thierry Métroz. Picture: SUPPLIED

There is good news for motorists who aren’t fans of digitised car interiors but are too afraid to admit it for fear of being branded dinosaurs or technophobes.

At least one car industry guru agrees with them, and that’s Thierry Métroz, the chief designer for France’s DS Automobiles, a division of Citroen.

Speaking to Autocar, Métroz said recently that touchscreens don’t belong on the inside of his brand’s vehicles. He is looking to “revolutionise” vehicle interiors to make them more luxurious, which means deleting all the screens in 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,” he said.

His views contrast starkly to the modern design trend of ever-larger touchscreens and instrument panels inside cars, such as seen in the new Mercedes EQS with its dashboard-wide Hyperscreen.

Métroz is not dissuaded by how common they are becoming in the automotive industry, telling Autocar that the trend to have a lot of screens is “a little bit stupid”.

His views follow recent studies that modern infotainment systems can be dangerously distracting while driving.

The UK’s What Car? consumer publication named BMW’s iDrive, which uses a physical controller, as the least distracting infotainment system to use. The research demonstrated that systems with physical buttons are much less distracting to use on the move than those that can only be altered using a touchscreen.

The research followed a study by UK road-safety charity IAM RoadSmart which found that modern in-vehicle infotainment systems are impairing reaction times behind the wheel even more than alcohol and cannabis use.

Features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were the biggest culprits in taking a driver’s attention off the road, the study reported. It found that instead of the latest touchscreen systems improving road safety as they were designed to, exactly the opposite was true.

Métroz didn’t specify what new technology could replace the digital screen, but said he wants to use something “less intrusive” that adds “more serenity”.

“Of course we need to deliver the information for the driver,” he added. “It's a big challenge.”


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