The Volvo Car Group will reveal at the Geneva Motor Show its new in-car control system designed around a large tablet-like touch screen.

This new tablet-type of in-vehicle controls will be featured in a new concept vehicle, the Concept Estate, inspired by the classic Volvo P1800ES of the early 1970’s, which had a shooting brake type of rear design.

Volvo_Estate_Concept_Tablet-600hVolvo explained the touch screen replaces the traditional selection of buttons and controls in the center stack with one control panel. It will blend established tablet functionality, such as swiping and pinching, with new solutions that are specially designed for the in-car environment. It also interacts with the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.

“The basic idea is to organize controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user-friendly way. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient, and safe,” said Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president design at Volvo Car Group.

This tablet control panel will be introduced in the next car generation, starting with the redesigned Volvo XC90 later in 2014.

“The new user interface is designed to create a smooth, logical and safe interaction between the driver and the car,” added Ingenlath. “This goes far beyond just putting a large tablet in the center of the dashboard. We have created a digital environment that is fully integrated in the car.”

The new user interface is designed so that the tiles on the touch screen expand on interaction, said Volvo. When one of the tiles expands to display required information, the others are compressed, still visible and instantly accessible.

“Having all functions present all the time makes the touch screen exceptionally user-friendly. The spacious layout also promotes smooth interaction without distraction,” said Ingenlath. “Creating this crystal clear, yet calm, environment is a core part of our digital craftsmanship. It is fine for an ordinary tablet to fight for your full attention but a touch screen in a car is very different. Information must be clear and user-friendly, without turning up the visual volume so much that you risk losing focus on the road. This also makes it easier to make really urgent information, such as a warning, much more distinctive.”