EXCLUSIVE: Mazda Wants To Create 3D Windshields Because Touchscreens Are Boring

Interview

According to Mazda's North American design chief.

What may look futuristic today may not appear so in only a few years’ time. That’s just one of the dilemmas automotive designers face. Styling beautiful cars and getting people to buy them isn’t an easy job but it’s sure as hell rewarding, says Mazda’s newly appointed North American design director, Julien Montousse. During a recent interview with Montousse, we learned that the next generation Mazda3’s styling will be inspired by the stunning RX-Vision Concept.

But here’s something else you probably didn’t know about the guy: his previous job at Mazda was interior design chief. Though he now has a lot more responsibility, Montousse has a stunningly creative vision for future Mazda interiors: 2D is dead and 3D will be its replacement. We’ll explain. Montousse believes that, “generally, technology is taking over the interior space,” and autonomous driving is mainly to blame, for better or worse. But for Montousse, autonomous tech doesn’t have to be boring. “Go autonomous and embrace it. Don’t do gimmicky technology,” Montousse explains. “There’s no value in it. There’s huge value behind the act of driving and being fully connected. Technology has to be incorporated.”

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So how does Montousse envision that happening? 3D windshields. “A 3D environment is already being produced in a touchscreen,” Montousse points out, “so why not project the NAV (screen), for example, to the glass of the vehicle? Think 3D all around, naturally. Touchscreens are boring, so we need something grander. A 2D stack is a negative impact in driving dynamics.” Montousse believes that just because a car is driving itself doesn’t mean you, the driver, can’t be engaged in the driving experience. Therefore, “autonomous mode (needs) to be as 3D as possible.” Question is, when will this 3D tech arrive, at least in a Mazda?

“It could be 10 or even 20 years away,” but advancements in car technology has a proven record of happening sooner rather than later. Just look at autonomous vehicles. Montousse also admitted that “Tesla did well in breaking the mold,” specifically regarding its large touchscreen panel. But Mazda, as long as he’s running the design team, wants to take interior design to a whole new level.

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