Communication between car, driver and everyone else is very important. One technology that facilitates this is the sudden proliferation of multimedia and digital displays. This doesn’t mean a DVD player (though that’s sometimes an option). I’m talking about a central interface that allows you access to all the car’s functions and information. Things like GPS tracking, checking tire pressure and adjusting cabin temperature can all be performed on a single screen.
A great example is Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) system.
You can see the information display near the top, and the MMI control interface at the bottom, below the gearshift.
Using the circular knob to make selections, and the buttons on the right and left sides of the knob to move from menu to menu (like GPS, temperature controls, CD player), we have a way to easily do whatever we want to do.
A centralized display seems to be a common theme in newer cars:
In the picture below, going clockwise from the upper-left, here are examples from a Porsche Boxter, Lexus, Volvo and a Pontiac GTO Coupe.