Chrysler Concept Imagines a Car Without Buttons
“You won’t see a single button on this vehicle from the doors to the interior to the infotainment system,” said Jason Monroe, a spokesman for Chrysler, while demonstrating Chrysler’s 200C concept, a four-door electric car.
Mr. Monroe helped lead the electronics development of the 200C’s iQ Power touch-screen system, first introduced at this year’s Detroit auto show.
The production-ready system was patented by the Nartron Corporation, which also owns the technology for the human-interface design used by other companies, including Apple. That may help explain the iPhone-inspired features behind iQ Power. “It’s what Apple did with the iPhone,” said Norman Rautiola, Natron’s chief executive.
Specifically, iQ Power lets drivers use any smartphone as a virtual key fob to control a host of functions, including locking and unlocking the vehicle’s doors and trunk and rolling the windows up and down. With their smartphones, users can also access a live interior shot of the vehicle as well as check on the status of their home’s security alarm, carbon dioxide and smoke detectors.
By touching and dragging a virtual trackball on the car’s curved dashboard, the driver and front-seat passenger can also control the vehicle’s music library, which replicates Apple’s album art cover-flow feature. The media library moves with the phone, so users can customize and take their settings with them.
The passenger side of the 200C deploys a UConnect tablet so passengers can access the car’s entertainment features and send recommendations to the driver. Passengers can also access the settings through a console-mounted passenger interface.
According to Mr. Rautiola, the 200C is expected to be released in 2012.