The 1986 Buick Riviera prepared the world for touchscreen infotainment, the world just wasn’t ready

The 1986 Buick Riviera prepared the world for touchscreen infotainment, the world just wasn’t ready


No, your passengers will no longer go back if you start pressing the screen in the middle of your dashboard and the changes will be revealed. Thanks to the tablet that is common in the Belgian living room. However, go back to 1986. You probably still played the final European countdown on the cassette player and the WWF wrestling circus is celebrating its heyday.

Life was easy, because there was no internet and you enjoyed reruns of Knight Rider. Technological entertainment taken from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). 8bits power and can bring pixels alive.

Basically, stupid, because let 1986 also be the year that Buick of America comes out with its seventh generation Riviera. Its sophistication was long lost in the 1960s, but the front-wheel-drive Riviera made up for it in its technological prowess. The Buick guys used the Riviera to share the Image Control Center with the wider world. touch screen cars avant la lettre so to speak.

There was still no talk about the aspect ratio, because the thing was an old TV with a picture tube mounted on a large console. With a 3 by 4 inch display, you should consider the dimensions of an average smartphone.

Still, the thing was a technological marvel that feels little different outside of visual lag than today’s infotainment screen. This way you can operate the air conditioner and the radio, but also get information about the technical condition of your brakes, drive train and electronics. Again, in 1986, at the push of a button! Why was the system only in production for two years and it went down so badly?

The public was not ready.

Because if it was cheered by every journalist and customer who tapped the screen with their greasy fingers, those same people thought the system had one death blow; took care of driving. Are manufacturers still awake in 2016?


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