Many new cars have a system where you can hand-write on a touch screen and the infotainment system will read the letters. The new Rolls-Royce takes this to a new, globalized level.

RR just released a new drop top version of their coupe version of their sedan version of the BMW 7 Series. That’s the Rolls-Royce Dawn (convertible) to the Wraith (coupe) to the Ghost (sedan) in Rolls-Royce nomenclature.

The big news is that this thing uses a relatively old school fabric top (newer retractable hardtops are more solid) because fabric is more luxurious. But there’s an interesting piece of high tech in the Dawn.

The Dawn press release has this description of their touchpad writing system:

This Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller presents a touch pad (rather than a touch screen which might leave unsightly fingerprints at driver and passenger eye level), with the ability to write characters by finger, as well as the ability to scroll through function menus by turning the chrome dial and pressing down to select its functions.

You can see the touchpad at the top of that circular dial in the center console above. The screen is hidden behind the wooden panel above the central air vents.

Thereafter is this little line:

The system recognises Latin and Arabic characters as well as Mandarin.

Finally, a car that represents today’s globalized business world. Rather, finally, a car that represents today’s globalized centers of wealth.

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I’ve never heard of a car that can read all three of these languages, though it’s not exactly a surprise. Anyone who has driven Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai understands the already-present need for this kind of recognition. I’m sure the same could be said of anyone who has seen Beijing’s more high-power boulevards.

How long until this plutocrat’s car reads cyrillic? Those Gazprom execs have got to ride in convertible style.

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Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.