Written by gary on September 10th, 2010

We can all Agree that anything that prevents a driver from looking away from the road is a big plus, and that’s why Toyota steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise controls that make it easy toToyotaPriusSteeringWheel change the radio station or pump up the volume without fumbling around with the middle console have become staple features for many Toyota models.

Still, auto engineers have observed that drivers often look down even when using steering-wheel buttons. Toyota has developed Touch Tracer technology that helps keep eyes looking at the road and it works well.

So what is Toyota Touch Tracer technology? When a steering-wheel mounted control is activated, a holographic image appears over the speedometer. Two blue circles appear, mimicking the shape of the controls on the steering wheel and highlighting the button being pushed in orange. Once the adjustment is complete, the circles fade away.

It’s a very simple concept but the execution is brilliant.

In testing, I was able to see with my peripheral vision what I had pushed, and even in instances where I had selected the wrong button, I was able to make the correction without taking my eyes off the road.

Currently, the feature is only available on the Toyota Prius, although Lexus offers a similar option called Remote Touch. This feature may be added to the rest of the Toyota line in the near future.

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