Toyota's 'dream' 4Runner SUV controlled by Apple iPads

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
A California fabricator unveiled a customized Toyota 4Runner controlled by a fleet of iPads during a Toyota-sponsored competition at the 2013 SEMA aftermarket parts trade show in Las Vegas.

Dashboard-mounted iPad
An iPad in the dashboard controls functions like windows and door locks | Source: USA Today


The SUV, dubbed the "Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner," was designed in conjunction with X Games-winning freestyle skier Simon Durmont. According to a report from USA Today, nearly every interior feature of the vehicle can be controlled from one of five iPads, from the volume of the audio system to opening and closing the windows.

The iPads also help actuate accessibility features, like a set of retractable running boards and an innovative enclosed ski rack system that sits atop the 4Runner's roof rails. At the tap of an iPad-based virtual button, the rack opens to reveal the skis and lowers them down to a more manageable position.

Jon Tondro of Herbst Smith Fabrication, team leader on the project, called the components "James Bond-like."



Apple's iOS devices have been used by the automotive industry in innovative and unexpected ways since the unveiling of the original iPhone in 2007. Volkswagen and stablemate Audi, for instance, have recently shown prototypes for iPad-based augmented reality repair and maintenance systems.

Cupertino is also making a first-party push into consumers' vehicles, expanding on the already popular iPod and iPhone integration. In 2012, the company unveiled Siri Eyes Free, which would bring a dedicated steering wheel button that would enable drivers to use the Siri personal digital assistant through the car's audio system.

At this year's Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple went even further with iOS in the Car, bringing iOS features like navigation and iMessages to dashboard-mounted touch screens. Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the company's automative strategy "very, very important" and "a key focus" for Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Seems nice, and I'm sure there are many benefits to iPad usage in a car, but I don't think it's handy to open the windows on a touch interface.

    Physical buttons. You can't touch that, iPad.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,012member
    @philboogie, My Toyota Tacoma has a basic touch screen that handles my iPod/iPhone just fine. It controls lots of other things as well. Why do you think you need a physical button for things like opening a window? Most new cars force doors to be locked after the car is in motion so you don't even need a physical device for that. At night, I keep pressing the child lock button instead of door lock, messing up the action of all windows except the driver's. Having this control on a touch screen could work nicely. My daughter's Prius does everything related to AC, heat, radio, etc. from it's touch screen. The last thing I would want is a Surface in my car with a physical keyboard to control things. It's the 21st century, physical buttons are out!
  • Reply 3 of 25
    tjwaltjwal Posts: 404member
    I agree with philboogie. With physical buttons you don't have to take your eye of the road. I can operate my windows, radio, airconditioning, lights without ever having to look for the control, I don't think I could do that with a touchsreen. Siri on the other hand.....
  • Reply 4 of 25
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Controls you can feel for by habit are a) easier, b) safer, c) located in different logical places around the car (like having window controls NEAR the window) and d) can ALL be available all the time: no modes are different screens.

    Touchscreens are NOT the answer for most things in a moving vehicle. Useful as a nav display--not to replace the physical feel-without-looking controls that have always worked far better.

    I'm so glad my car has no touchscreen (other than my dash-mounted iPhone as GPS).

    Touchscreen over-use in cars is a trend that sounds cool, but needs to die out. It's not like space or weight are an issue. As for voice, it can be awesome (Siri? awesome sometimes!) but it's slower and more awkward than one click of a button or turn of a knob. It's not a cure-all.

    I do want iOS in the car, but for "screen" stuff like GPS and music browsing. I never want it to be controlling physical aspects of the vehicle.

    (I'm reminded of a physical control few phones have but Apple intelligently includes: a mute switch. Touch-only should be used where it's the best solution, not as a buzzword people then have to live with.)
  • Reply 5 of 25
    I sometimes wear gloves in my car. particularly after a cold night.

    which reminds me, how do ipads handle extended storage at subzero temperatures? How about temps around 120 F? How about routine vacillations in temperature?

    I just don't think that a car designed around ipads makes sense, not as ipads are currently designed (additionally, why pay for 5 ipad batteries? 5 sets of ipad speakers? 5 ipad microphones? How about all those cameras that point into the dashboard or other car surface?).

    integrating an iOS interface into a cars touchscreen, that I could see, but this aftermarket integration just seems stupid.
  • Reply 6 of 25

    I like where this is going, but this is not quite right, just yet,

     

    I agree with the above posters, I like most of my controls on the wheel or close by.

  • Reply 7 of 25
    Does "nearly every interior feature of the vehicle can be controlled from one of five iPads" mean that I can control my steering wheel and gas/brake pedals with my iPad? And why does it require 5 iPads? I see only one iPad in the photo. Very confusing.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    To unlock your car doors:
    Home Button ?Controls ?Portals ?Doors ?Lock/Unlock ?All Doors ?Unlock ?Now ?"Are you sure? This action will allow anyone access to the interior of your vehicle, compromising your safety." ?Confirm
  • Reply 9 of 25
    tokyojimu wrote: »
    To unlock your car doors:
    Home Button ?Controls ?Portals ?Doors ?Lock/Unlock ?All Doors ?Unlock ?Now ?"Are you sure? This action will allow anyone access to the interior of your vehicle, compromising your safety." ?Confirm

    You forgot the lawyer screen that says you (the driver) agree to only use the system while the vehicle stopped. I Accept. Now everything is nice and legal.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    "Toyota's 'dream' 4Runner SUV controlled by Apple iPads "

    controlled by ipads? apparently they've never seen me play real racing 3. not a good idea.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    rob53 wrote: »
    @philboogie, My Toyota Tacoma has a basic touch screen that handles my iPod/iPhone just fine. It controls lots of other things as well. Why do you think you need a physical button for things like opening a window? Most new cars force doors to be locked after the car is in motion so you don't even need a physical device for that. At night, I keep pressing the child lock button instead of door lock, messing up the action of all windows except the driver's. Having this control on a touch screen could work nicely. My daughter's Prius does everything related to AC, heat, radio, etc. from it's touch screen. The last thing I would want is a Surface in my car with a physical keyboard to control things. It's the 21st century, physical buttons are out!

    But physical keys are easy to be found without looking. That is, when designed right, either by unique form or a layout that makes sense. Ie:

    Good layout

    700

    Poor layout

    700



    But who knows, maybe this even works:

    700

    And yes, of course not a keyboard, that would be absurd. Though I don't think Samsung got that memo
    700
  • Reply 12 of 25
    jm6032jm6032 Posts: 147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TokyoJimu View Post



    To unlock your car doors:

    Home Button ?Controls ?Portals ?Doors ?Lock/Unlock ?All Doors ?Unlock ?Now ?"Are you sure? This action will allow anyone access to the interior of your vehicle, compromising your safety." ?Confirm

    Awwww. You've been using Ford/Microsoft Sync...

  • Reply 13 of 25
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,573member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TokyoJimu View Post



    To unlock your car doors:

    Home Button ?Controls ?Portals ?Doors ?Lock/Unlock ?All Doors ?Unlock ?Now ?"Are you sure? This action will allow anyone access to the interior of your vehicle, compromising your safety." ?Confirm


     

     

    This is the exact why iBeacons and Touch ID will revolutionize how we do things...

     

    As you approach your car, your iPhone picks up the iBeacon. The car's app opens up on the iPhone to an "Unlock Door" screen... All you have to do is put your finger on the Touch ID sensor.

  • Reply 14 of 25
    philboogie wrote: »
    And yes, of course not a keyboard, that would be absurd. Though I don't think Samsung got that memo
    700

    That memo was dated 2006 from Palm, Inc.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Dashboard-mounted iPad
    An iPad in the dashboard controls functions like windows and door locks | Source: USA Today


     

    The idea’s great. Basically they’re just copying Tesla, but that’s fine, because, hey, the idea is great. The design, however, is absolutely horrible. Look at it. Poof. All bloated and crap. Is it designed to be removable or something? Geez, guys, get your design together.

  • Reply 16 of 25

    While the usefulness of the current modifications can be debated, I think the bigger aspect is that physical world integration is becoming a reality.

     

    If you consider the application of biometrics, fingerprint and possibly voice recognition (in tandem with Siri), I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of innovation.

  • Reply 17 of 25
    aoa1aoa1 Posts: 28member

    Really?

    No mentioning of these recent events?

    This page really is the Pravda of the tech-world...

     

    Well, here are un-censored Apple Insights:

     

    iPad Air EXPLODES INTO FIREBALL as terrified fanbois flee Apple Store 

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/8/ipad-explodes-setting-australian-store-customers-f/

     

    and this:

     

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/07/apfelkind-cafe-trademark-battle-apple-germany

     

    ("The key factor that inspired Römer to fight back was a gagging clause. At first the US company had offered a compromise whereby she could use the Apfelkind logo on her own franchise products but not on any electronic equipment.")

  • Reply 18 of 25

    For more obscure functions NOT while driving, iPad integration is fine.  However, things like opening windows still should have physical controls. Any time you're required to take your eyes off the road to operate something in the vehicle, it risks chance of accident.

     

    Even climate control should be physical controls.  I've seen cars where the climate control system is quite complicated, requiring navigation of screens to get what you want.  Definitely BAD design for a moving vehicle.

     

    Navigation, if done correctly, would be great on an iPad in a car.  The music app is far to difficult to use to recommend using it while driving as it is right now.  You would need far more simplified control to make it effective.

     

    Oh, and where do the 5 iPads come from?  They say in the story that there is one mounted in the dash, and one in the back seat.  Where are the rest?

  • Reply 20 of 25

    Hmmm.  All these comments about how touch screen does not work as well as physical shapes to touch are 100% accurate.  Funny that I seem to be the only one who was making the same comments about iOS 7 lack of color and definition and y'all did not seem to get the point.  Same thing.  Different interface.

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