Complex cockpit control systems like BMW’s controversial iDrive could be outlawed by US safety legislators.
The shock idea is raised in a discussion document published last week in the US by NHTSA, a government road safety agency. It is investigating the complexity of cockpit design, including controls, gauges and warning lights.
It also launches a consultation process on how to legislate for multi-function controls: ‘We seek [public] comment on whether the selection of some controller/multi-task display combinations are, or could become, too complex for some drivers.’
The discussion document reveals that Porsche and Mazda have asked for clarification of the rules governing a ‘combination multi-function switch/ rotary dial’, suggesting they too are developing iDrive rivals.
US law requires a display and its control to be adjacent to each other, to make information systems easier to use. However, this does not currently apply to joystick controls and TV displays.