Nav systems among infotainment distractions, AAA study finds

Delia Watkins
October 7, 2017

Some of these new features include large screens, touch screens and writing pads, which are now the standard gadgets in new cars, but these infotainment systems create increased distractions for drivers, according to a new study.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report suggesting that the latest infotainment systems in new vehicle promote distracted driving behaviors and on a scale greater than cell phones. Let's say a driver sends a text or email while behind the wheel. We just wish those new touchscreen consoles weren't so much fun to use.

Kakao will cooperate with Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors to apply server-based speech recognition technology in cars using the firm's artificial intelligence (AI) platform, Kakao I. "Steering wheels that have 19 multi-function buttons". There are touch screens, voice commands, writing pads, heads-up displays on windshields and mirrors and 3-D computer-generated images.

(Remember, infotainment systems may be different in Australian models). Worse: they tend to distract the driver.

The manufacturers of these vehicles face a hard decision.

The study done by AAA finds that technology built into the dashboards of many cars is taking drivers' eyes and attention off the road and their hands off the wheel for potentially risky periods of time.

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Clearly automakers haven't worked hard enough to make the systems quick and easy to use, Nelson said. Seven were rated "moderate".

In that time, driving at only 25 miles an hour, a vehicle travels the length of about four football fields. This block is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but is merely part of voluntary guidelines.

The AAA urges automakers to design systems so as to block text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the auto is in motion. However, the ability to program navigation while driving was available in 12 vehicles in the study.

The study found, for instance, that something as common as entering navigation information could distract a driver for as much as 40 seconds when using some of the latest vehicle tech. "This review will examine the effectiveness of using this new emerging technology to crack down on this reckless behavior and thoroughly evaluate its implications", he told the AP.

"Automakers should aim to reduce distractions by designing systems that are no more visually or mentally demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook", said Doney. Some of the new features are truly useful, such as those relating to driving aids and safety improvement, while others are perhaps more gadget.

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