[CEATEC 2011] You know how Formula 1 steering wheels technically don’t come in the traditional round form factor, cost a bomb and has more buttons than your standard, modern console controller? Well, even higher end cars tend to have plenty of buttons on them to help drivers access different functions in a vehicle easily. Well, ALPS thinks that they are on to something here with a wheel trackpad that might see action in vehicles sometime down the road – although we do wonder how fast that will catch on.

According to ALPS, a wheel trackpad is easier to use (and safer, too) as well as more convenient than pressing separate buttons on the car’s steering wheel, where you swipe your way through radio channels, adjusting the volume, control your navigation system and who knows – play Angry Birds? I guess the last bit can be ruled out due to the hazard it poses, but ALPS claims it can also work with letter recognition as well.

Currently, the Audi A8 relies on such technology albeit not on the wheel. I wonder how much more a car’s price is increased with this spanking new wheel trackpad in place.

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