High-resolution touchscreens make it possible to bring together multiple indicators into one place and represent complex information, such as 3D maps of the route ahead, as well as providing a home for traditional indicators of speed, engine and fuel performance. But the concentration of information in large, discrete displays has drawbacks from the user-experience and ergonomics perspectives. The desire to pack too much information into the touchscreen leads to distractions for the driver as they try to hunt for icons and dials that are important to them at that time among less important graphics.
The steering wheel is one natural home for indicators that are important to the driver while the car is moving. It is where the driver can expect to find cruise control settings and the icons that show whether direction indicators are active as well as warnings generated by the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) as a supplement to audio and vibrational alerts. For example, icons on the wheel can confirm to the driver which warning has been triggered, such as lane departure or slippery road conditions.