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Lexus LF-NX advances Human-Machine interaction

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If you would like to know what the interior layout of future Lexus models might look like, why not take a look at the bold new Lexus LF-NX concept.

It also reveals developments that combine natural ergonomics with the brand’s acclaimed Human-Machine Interface (HMI) technology.

A key element of HMI has been to divide the dashboard in two – an upper display zone, with a display screen positioned high up for easy viewing, and a lower operation zone equipped with a mouse-like Remote Touch Interface controller. This interior design theme was introduced in the CT 200h and was gently evolved in the current Lexus GS.

The layout has won awards and many admirers. But the latest round of Lexus Future concept cars shows that Lexus is taking HMI technology into new and exciting directions.

The LF-CC concept of 2012 featured familiar dashboard zones, locating all drive controls within easy reach of the driver’s seat. However, a closer look at this area revealed a new gear shift lever design and, directly behind it, a new ‘touch tracer’ display for remote control of a range of vehicle systems.

Little explanation was given at the time, but the significance of this touch-sensitive display increased when it reappeared in production-ready form in the RC coupe and in a further evolution in the latest LF-NX concept — both seen at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

Unlike the current mouse-like controller, the appearance of the new Remote Touch Interface suggests that it might work like the touch pad of a laptop in order to direct a cursor on the upper screen. Alternatively, the clear dividing of the interface into four sections could also mean that it might work like a smartphone screen, perhaps using familiar swipe, scroll, pinch and tap controls. And who knows whether the circular shape of the icons printed on the upper screen of the LF-NX has any relevance to a scrolling function within the interface.

What is unique to the LF-NX concept is its use of lighting within the HMI setup, where commands are animated as ripples of light energy moving through the car’s nervous system. Could this feature become a production reality too?

We cannot reveal anything at this time. But based on past experience, if innovations in Human-Machine Interface technology appear more than once in different concept vehicles then there is a good chance Lexus knows it is on to a good thing.

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