Apple is set to unveil its CarPlay system at this month’s Geneva Motor Show. It is designed to integrate vehicles’ factory infotainments systems with a driver’s iPhone, and marks yet again Apple’s interest in the automotive technology segment.
CarPlay will allow hands-free use of the telephone, music applications, messaging functions and navigation features. Voice commands will be the main interface for drivers to access and utilize these systems. The system is expected to be available from multiple manufacturers, including Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Ford and GM.
But driving instructors and other safety professionals will perhaps be most interested in CarPlay’s effects on safety. Will it require more mental attention than before? Will its navigation features help keep drivers’ eyes on the road? Will increased music options tempt new drivers to worry more about their music than their driving?
These are among the many questions that CarPlay and similar systems are raising. Fortunately, researchers are hard at work to assess how such systems affect drivers’ attention and overall safety. One of the most current studies is by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, titled Measuring Cognitive Distractions. A handy Fact Sheet about the study is available at https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/MeasuringCognitiveDistractionFS.pdf.
As with the introduction of driver technologies in the past, CarPlay’s release actually represents a great opportunity for driving instructors to prompt discussion about distracted driving. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity- you represent the most qualified and most credible source your students have!
Image courtesy of Apple