Touch input is on the rise in the automotive market with accelerating moves toward integration and multifunctionality of controls traditionally operated by switches or dials. Even outside the realms of car navigation and audio, use of touch control is expected to keep growing, not only as a design consideration, but also in view of the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).
Over the past couple of years, the use of touchscreens for HVAC, IVI etc has made control more complex. There is currently growing demand for vibrational feedback, which allows more intuitive control and does not require any shift of gaze. The technology is being watched as a means of delivering greater reassurance and safety while driving. An example is incorporation into the car’s warning systems – including lane departure warnings and vehicle proximity alerts that warn the driver of approaching cars – of vibrations in the steering wheel or the driver’s seat. Such features are better at conveying a current situation.
Responding to these market needs, Alps Alpine has developed an addition to its lineup of Haptic Reactor models, which have been used extensively in gaming and virtual reality equipment. The Heavy Type produces an excitation force of 15G (at 100g), or five times the existing Alps Alpine product. Sample shipments will begin in October 2020, destined primarily for the automotive market. Alps Alpine is eyeing a January 2021 start to mass production.