Driving and Writing: Audi MMI

The new Audi A8 sedan has a novel text entry input system:  writing.  Instead of using a knob (an indirect velocity control) or touchscreen (direct position control), the system accepts input using a touch sensitive pad (indirect position control) that can recognize letter input:

HW recognizer on main screen
Touch pad on dash

This seems to be an improvement over current systems that make you use an indirect input device (knob/wheel) or virtual keyboard on a direct device but the skeptic in me asks whether this is better than voice input.

Knob-based text input (old style)
Knob-based text input (old style)

What would multiple resource theory say?  The extent to which two concurrent tasks will interfere with each other depend on whether they place demands on the same or different resources.  The “resources” are Codes/Modalities/Stages/Responses:

Three-dimensional representation of the structure of multiple=

Driving is a spatial/visual/manual task while writing seems to be a spatial-verbal/manual task (as is typing and turning a knob).  Voice might be verbal/auditory task (I’ve ignored the “stages” dimension).  [this is my 5 second arm-chair analysis, further examination might show something different]  The problem with voice is that it never seems accurate enough (my previous car had voice input for letters).

[via Engadget and Gizmodo]

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