Hyundai deliberately went retro with its recent concepts, in order to better consider how to combine high-tech and analog interior features
February 19, 2023 at 12:20
by Sebastien Bell
Technology has taken an increasingly important role in car design, which has meant that automotive interiors are filled to the brim with screens. Hyundai’s head of design, Hak Soo Ha, though, believes that there’s still a place for analog controls.
Speaking to Carscoops at the Canadian International Auto Show, the designer said that one of the reasons the brand has begun interacting with its history, and producing retro concepts like the Pony and the N Vision74, is to force designers to consider how they should combine digital and analog features.
“Right before [unveiling the Pony], we were doing cars for CES and in autonomous vehicles, you take out the steering wheel, you take out what’s automotive, and you end up with something that just looks like a house on wheels,” Ha told us. “I just wanted to bring more automotive excitement to our interiors and car design in general. But, you know what, everything was going digital and touchscreen and buttonless, and I wanted to mix digital and analog together.”
Read: Big Screens Going Out Of Style According To BMW And Polestar
The designer said that he has mixed feelings about touchscreens and all-digital interiors. He said that, as a designer, he’s interested in what’s new, and has to stay current with what’s innovative and fresh, but that those can’t be the only considerations.
“As an automotive designer, you also need to take into consideration human factors: ergonomics, safety,” he said. “People are kind of creatures of habit, so when you change things around, people get confused, in an emergency situation people might panic, so you’ve got to kind of keep that all in consideration.”
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Ha said, though, that there is still a place for tech-forward interiors in Hyundai’s vehicles, but believes that the tech must be seamless in order to work in a car.
If “you’re using your phone to do any kind of communications, or using your phone for navigation, or checking your schedule, or keeping tabs on where you need to go and where you need to be, and the minute you get in the car all that information, it’s crucial that it gets seamlessly translated into the car,” Ha said. “If you’ve got to connect a line, or project your screen, or you’ve got to transfer data over Bluetooth connection, it’s too cumbersome. So, seamless seems to be the key.”