Here are seven probably pointless car innovations | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear

Here are seven probably pointless car innovations

The inventions that, er, don’t deserve their place

  1. Gesture control

    Granted, the idea behind gesture control is pretty clever. Spin your fingers in a circle to adjust the volume level, point to accept a phone call, swipe to reject, while keeping your eyes on the road. In reality, it’s pretty pointless. All of the functions offered are controllable on the steering wheel or the dashboard, and, stereo volume for example, is much easier to control precisely using these buttons, without gesticulating like a madman.

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  2. Voice control

    Similar to gesture control, voice control is a good idea, but as anyone who has used one will testify, they can be at times pretty frustrating. Typical voice controls include adjusting the stereo volume, skipping tracks, making and receiving phone calls, or setting satnav destinations, but more often than not, they don’t understand what you’re saying. Plus, again, all of the above can be simply and accurately controlled using buttons.

  3. LED door projectors

    No idea where this one came from, but the picture says it all, really. We can’t really fathom when they’d be needed, either – they’re not exactly going to help you find your vehicle in a car park, are they? They’re sometimes referred to as puddle lights, but should it be dark and you’ve fortuitously managed to find your car, you still need to physically open the door and step in the puddle for them to activate. Put simply, they just scream “too much”.

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  4. Gear shift indicator

    When we see a light on the dash telling us that we need to change up/down gear, it irks us. For starters, it’s entirely dependent on driving and road conditions, which the computer isn’t clever enough to recognise. Secondly, in our humble opinion, the dashboard should be reserved for error lights only. We’ll just continue to ignore them, then. 

  5. Rotary gear selectors

    Here’s the thing. When you’re literally changing the direction your car is about to head, you need to be decisive. If you’re executing a three-point turn or parking in a tight spot, speed is key to safety and to maintaining the respect of your fellow motorist. You don’t want to be looking down, or guessing, to see if you’ve selected to the correct detent. Rotary controls for infotainment systems? Yes. Rotary gear selectors? We’ll pass, thanks.

  6. Paddle shifters in automatic cars

    What’s this all about, then? If you’ve bought an automatic, why do you need the ability to change gears? OK, OK, we hear you – you don’t want a manual transmission doing the daily commute, but you would like the ability to manually change gears once in a while. Problem is, based on our experience, you have to hit the paddle shifter at the perfect moment, or the car just ignores the command anyway. Which renders it utterly pointless. 

  7. Motorised rear-view mirrors

    A note to all manufacturers: not everything needs to be motorised just because it can be. Case in point? The rear-view mirror. Adjusting the rear-view mirror with your hand isn’t difficult, and, truthfully, is the quickest way to get the mirror positioned as you like it. Side-view mirrors, motorise them all you like – they’re outside the car and difficult to reach. Rear-view mirrors, on the other hand are not. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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