Garmin® unveils the power of Lenexa: an infotainment system focused on physical controls
Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced details of its intuitive Lenexa infotainment concept, a tactile system for automotive OEMs with practical features that encourage safety and ease-of-use. Lenexa integrates contemporary infotainment with tried-and-true physical controls dedicated to specific functions. Lenexa’s adaptable system was recently evaluated against the touchscreen user interface (UI) of a popular infotainment solution and the results have been assertively favorable. The initial results solidify the leadership that Garmin exhibits in system integration and UI design by combining traditional physical controls, with the latest advancements in technology.
The preliminary tests focused on time and task eye tracking studies that followed AAM (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) compliance protocol, DALI (Driving Activity Load Index), and the system usability score (SUS), which is an assessment based on post-task questionnaires. In all three phases of the testing process Lenexa surpassed the benchmark system.
The Lenexa concept addresses fundamental issues with infotainment systems that require the driver to use a touchscreen or a multifunction controller while the vehicle is in motion. In order to minimize a driver’s tendency to glance away from the road to control touchscreen-based infotainment systems, Lenexa provides tangible controls that rely on muscle memory to quickly locate and operate features frequently used while driving. The system provides “technology that can be felt” by bringing the most relevant navigation, audio, HVAC and smartphone function modes to four tactile knobs – these knobs can be physically bumped in four directions, rotated and pressed. Each action of the knob is dedicated to a specific function that never changes, by implementing this, drivers can quickly develop the muscle memory required to control the system with ease.
“On the surface it may seem logical to give drivers the same type of touchscreen interface they have on their phones and tablets, but driving is a very different experience,” said Kip Dondlinger, Garmin automotive OEM manager of product and user experience. “A better reference can be found in video games. Game system consoles have always had real, tactile controls because in a game – like driving – you don’t have time to look down to find the right button. A touchscreen is still needed in the car, but a driver shouldn’t have to rely on it for features commonly used while the vehicle is in motion.”
In general, touchscreen and multifunction controllers require drivers to sort through multiple modes or menus to access key functions integrated in their infotainment system. Lenexa prioritizes the functions drivers need the most on the top level of the UI to keep information efficiently accessible, further reducing the need for drivers to look away from the road. Lenexa incorporates a touchscreen for infrequent tasks, and features that aren’t used while driving such as browsing the map or entering text.
Lenexa uses cohesive displays that provide a unique and welcoming system. Each knob has a round integrated OLED display where vital information is revealed pertaining to each mode and specific knob function. In order to remain unobtrusive to drivers, the knobs offer a camouflaged appearance that only comes alive when additional information is needed between the knob controllers. The result is a less intimidating dashboard that enhances Lenexa’s functional simplicity. A portion of Lenexa was exclusively demonstrated to automakers earlier this year and can be viewed here.
Garmin is continuing to test and refine the Lenexa infotainment interface and will have more developments to unveil during the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin's virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmin, twitter.com/garmin, or youtube.com/garmin.
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