Latest in-car infotainment features could raise safety questions image

The latest idea behind integrated infotainment systems is to make dashboard display more like our ubiquitous smartphones – customers are in for the buy and automakers are in for the supply.

According to manufacturers, the latest crop of dashboards that mirror smartphones can bring massive revenue and lure in more customers. They also say the new features, designed to be more intuitive, can lift safety, as they are equipped with carefully crafted voice controls and big touchscreens that will shed driver reliance on the more dangerous mobile phone. Yet the level of technology integrated into the car has sparked a heated debate about the positive and negative aspects. “You can’t be looking at a screen and be looking at the road at the same time,” said David Strayer, a professor of cognition and neural science at the University of Utah, also an expert on distracted driving. They “are enabling activities that take your eyes off the road for longer than most safety advocates would say is safe.” For automakers and customers, the massive screens are irresistible, though.

Until now, such features and technologies were not high on the list when purchasing a new vehicle, but manufacturers and suppliers believe it would jump in importance in the next half decade. According to market research company J.D. Power, around 15 percent of motorists exclude a certain model if it doesn’t come equipped with the latest tech features, while a year ago the level was of just four percent. So far, regulations on the car’s dashboard display are scarce and light. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has only issued guidelines and the auto industry has done its own part on that matter as well.

Via Reuters