Touch and Go

Lexus introduces the new Remote Touch Interface touchpad.

03/31/14—Back in 2008, when Lexus unveiled its first-generation Remote Touch system in the Lexus RX, nobody had seen anything quite like it. Its beauty lay in the device’s human-machine-connection logic—that is, it employed the familiar movements of desktop PC use.

Lexus engineers had correctly reasoned that a sitting driver looking toward a windshield, or glancing at a navigation screen, is quite similar to a person facing a desktop computer, so why not harness the hand and finger-click movements of a mouse-like device to control the navigation, climate control, and audio systems?


Fast forward to the present, or rather the unveiling of the new Lexus RC coupe last fall, which came with the next version of Lexus’s innovative remote-touch thinking: the Remote Touch Interface[1] (RTI) touchpad. Lexus-cockpit engineers, in their unending commitment to superb HMI (Human-Machine Interface) design, have basically evolved the system from point-and-click to tap-and-swipe dynamics.

Put into practice, the system employs functionality similar to both a laptop touchpad and a smartphone touchscreen, allowing drivers to glide their fingers over four quadrants to scroll through menus and vehicle options on the vehicle’s navigation screen, or swipe from one screen to the next. (Much research was spent on optimal placement of the touchpad, and the relationship of the navigation screen to the driver’s line-of-sight.)

Each quadrant has its own areas of control, but together the system allows the driver to manipulate a wide spectrum of vehicle features, including the navigation system[2], audio system, power seats, climate control, Bluetooth[3] system, and available features like the Enform[4] mobile app suite components, among other technologies.

And just like a tablet or smartphone, the RTI touchpad uses gestures like pinching and spreading to zoom or expand navigation-system maps (when the vehicle is parked).

Lexus designers also gave the system haptic feedback. In other words, the touchpad will gently thump and pulse as the driver navigates menus and vehicle systems, which helps the driver move through options intuitively.

In many ways, the new touchpad is the real-world expression of Lexus’s innovative exploration into automotive touch technology, which Lexus debuted in concept form in the LF-CC’s center console back in 2012 and later showcased in the LF-NX concept.

But more than that, it’s part of a larger commitment to a connective human-machine design approach, which calls for technology to be seamless and unobtrusive, and employ natural movements on the operator’s part.

In other words—premium.

Try the system yourself later this year: look for it in the RC and RC F when the models arrive in dealerships this fall.

Legal Disclaimers

[1] Always drive safely, obey traffic laws, and focus on the road while driving.

[2] Always drive safely, obey traffic laws and focus on the road while driving. Availability and accuracy of the information provided by the Navigation System is dependent upon many factors. Use common sense when relying on information provided. Services and programming subject to change. Services not available in every city or roadway. Navigation updates are available at an additional cost from your local Lexus dealer. See your Navigation System Owner’s Manual or Lexus dealer for details.

[3] The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Lexus is under license. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners. The phones on have been tested for Bluetooth® wireless technology compatibility with Lexus vehicles. Performance will vary based on phone software version, coverage and your wireless carrier.

[4] Always drive safely, obey traffic laws, and focus on the road while driving. Apps/services vary by phone/carrier; functionality depends on many factors. Select apps use large amounts of data, you are responsible for all charges. Apps/services are subject to change. Apps identified by ™ or ® are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. For enrollment, cost and more details, see