Consumer Reports story on Automobile Ergonomics

Zoom over to the Consumer Reports car blog for a case study of accessibility by Gabe Shenhar .

Driving with an injury: Features that can ease the pain (excerpted):

…I have come to a new appreciation, surveying our vehicle test fleet, of what everyday life must be like for people with physical challenges or limited mobility.

For me right now, the key is low-effort everything and minimizing movements requiring my right arm. I have a newfound appreciation for a quiet cabin, a comfortable ride, easy access, and a view out that doesn’t require straining or craning. Automatic transmission is a given for now.

Here are 12 more items that make my temporary limitation easier to live with:

  1. Push-button start: Eliminates the need to twist the wrist to turn a key.
  2. Electronic parking brake: Requires only push/pull finger action, and also saves space.
  3. Adjustable armrest: Allows optimal positioning of the elbow.
  4. Power adjustable steering column: No need to grope beneath the steering column and pry loose a stiff lever.
  5. Power seat: Low-effort fore-and-aft and recline adjustments. Power lumbar support is a bonus.
  6. Automatic climate control: Set the temperature once and be done with it. No need to fumble for out-of-reach controls.
  7. Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls: Change volume and stations without having to lift a hand off the wheel.
  8. Rain-sensing wipers: No grasping or twisting a wiper lever.
  9. Auto headlights: No need to take my left hand off the wheel to turn them on or off.
  10. One-touch power windows (up and down): No need to press and hold, leaving my left hand on the wheel.
  11. Doors that unlock and open when you pull the inside latch: Takes away the need to look for the central lock switch.
  12. Strong door detents: Doors that stay open on my slightly sloped driveway without the need to fight them back.

4 thoughts on “Consumer Reports story on Automobile Ergonomics”

  1. No way.. that’s incredible. This belongs in a post of its own with an analysis of trust in automation (and probably the ability to translate steering wheel movement to a birds eye view).

    1. I’ve become very reliant on my backup camera (not as gee whiz as Infiniti’s) to the point of not even turning my head anymore. Not that turning my head would help because of the horrible rear visibility in modern cars (you can get a sense of how bad rear visibility is in the Infiniti EX in the video above).

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