Big Knobs Make You Feel Powerful

It seems the next trend in automotive interior design are big knobs. With BMW already promoting their iDrive system and Audi bragging one of their own, soon all cars may have one giant knob that seem to control everything.

The “Smart Drive System” is designed for luxury SUVs and sedans located beside the driver. The driver can easily control the infotainment system by using this device without even looking. The design is supposed to invoke the powerful mechanics beneath all the sheet metal with styling and fine metallic finishings bringing everything together.

Designer: Hao-Chun Huang


  • Lafond66 says:

    :cough: BMW iDrive :cough:

  • Wolfticket says:

    One knob to rule them all…

  • Willyolio says:

    yeah, BMW has already tried and failed.

    this looks like it’s going to be… exactly the same.

  • Buford says:

    Old school car stereo junkies will remember the Sony ‘Rotary Commander’ wired remotes. Those were an example of knobs that worked. Different tactile controls for volume, changing tracks, changing sources, etc. Once one was used to the thing it was possible to use the radio entirely without taking one’s eyes off the road but complex functions were still possible. Would work for the car too… radio and climate functions would be very easy to control with something like that.

    That’s what iDrive SHOULD be. A device that’s LESS distracitng to the driver, not more.

  • The most precious thing for a designer is to hear people comment on your design. I want o thanks all of your comments and those do keeps me exploring more!

    This “smart drive system” is one of my company’s’ infotainment project. It was for the sales promotion at couple motor shows this year around the world. It is obvious that PM wants to after the famous “iDrive” from BMW and tried to step into the aftermarket. My job was to support them and create the whole series products of car infotainment. Frankly, what I’ve done is playing with the styling and finishing. Fortunately, these concepts do helped our sales people get more business.

    We all know that these controversial products still exist on cars of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Infiniti.etc. I am totally agree this knob might be quite dangerous when it has too many functions. I would rather use a basic function knob for safety.

    Check out more concepts for infotainment projects on my coroflot portfolio ( Please kindly give me more your precious comments for my designs. Thanks~!

    Hao-Chun Huang

  • Pontus says:

    It just haoppens that the iDrive has been quite a failure so far. User can not understand it. Despite this efforts are being put forth to improve on this style of interaction in cars. I guess we designers like the siple “look” and are willing to sacrifice a lot to get it? I am personally sceptical.

    • Taran Singh says:

      I have an 08 328 with iDrive and it is a design disappointment.

      Its too slow in general.
      Its NAVI features are aweful at best
      – the alphabet list is horizontal and does not roll over from one end to other.
      – it does not have a START/STOP – to stop an existing route, you have to go to the list of the destination, select the one to stop and STOP. yeah. I own this.
      – cannot find Dominos pizza. yeah.

      – IPOD integration is basic. The support for randomization, repeat etc are good, but the overall navigation is too slow to do things quickly.

      – the climate controls are also simple (vent control only).

      And I dont agree that things should be simple, if someone is going to make that argument. Sophistication wins with a delightful design. Apple IPhone is sophisticated but its very well designed, hence it instant success.

      BMW should use Garmin to create the workflow for this NAVI and outsource the other parts to a creative design firm for climate and entertainment part.

  • Sam, Wisconsin says:

    Not in America.

    In America we think that lots of buttons is the way to go.

    Beamers are no exception.

    Simply, we need lots of choices. Good luck in Europe.

  • coldarchon says:

    oh look, someone invented the wheel/knob! wait, it already existed?

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