At least in theory. In practice, I'm sure ppl still look at their consoles anyways, but at the very least, one shouldn't have to focus and/or search for soft or hard buttons that detract from driving concentration. I don't have a built-in GPS for my car, so it's not device that's integrated along with the rest of my vehicle. In other words, I'd imagine unlike other vehicles with a built in GPS, my car doesn't have a central LCD screen w/buttons where I access everything (CD player, radio, GPS, clock, climate control, heat, etc.). All I have is just a handheld GPS model that I keep in my car. Even though the touchscreen doesn't offer the same tactile feedback as a button (there is sound), I can navigate without looking at the screen constantly. E.g., if i'm on the map screen, I'll know exactly how to do certain things w/o looking at the device, like deleting routes, zooming in, zooming out, panning, and opening menus. I've also got a CD player, FM/AM tuner, and cassette player that's rather utilitarian. The AC, heat, defoggers, etc. are old school knobs and dials that I got used to VERY quickly. This ain't high tech, but it works really well for me
It would be great if voice commands were an option. "turn up heat", "find parking", "ETA to destination", that, but not that alone (still keep the buttons and dials) would be a fun and practical interface.
In my recent column, Car interfaces and usability, I evaluated the various car gadget interfaces from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. What sort of interface do you think works best for controlling navigation, stereo, and other car systems?