A few months ago, I argued the fancy infotainment systems crammed into every new car are bad news for drivers because they don’t work well and they’re distracting.
I also pointed out they’re not going anywhere because the global market for the technology is worth more than $US30 billion, and growing, according to one study.
So I’m not surprised Apple has jumped into the game with CarPlay, the system that will let drivers run iOS on their car’s dashboard.
Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, and Jaguar will offer it this year. BMW, Chevy, Ford, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota are “committed partners,” according to Apple.
In terms of quality, CarPlay will likely be a big improvement over what’s in cars these days — this is where Apple thrives and automakers don’t. But it makes me more worried than ever about distracted drivers.
That’s because a 2013 study by AAA found mental distractions like sending a text or email, even via voice commands, slow reaction times. On a scale created for the study, they ranked as “high danger.” CarPlay lets you send and receive messages, and make calls.
So this is going to be a problem, and we won’t have a good solution until 2020 at the earliest. That’s when Nissan says it will have have a self-driving car on the market, and everyone can text and email to their heart’s content, without having to operate a vehicle.
Until then, we’ll be stuck in limbo, with technology good enough to keep us from being safe drivers, but not good enough to just let cars do the dirty work. It’s going to be a rough six years.
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