Regulators are worried about the automobile in-dash app trends, saying these apps are added distractions during driving. These so-called connected cars will give drivers the ability to work with apps that allow them to navigate to their destination, look for the cheapest gas along the way, log in to their Facebook accounts, and listen to an online radio streaming.
Mercedes-Benz’ Mbrace2 system has six in-dash apps, including Facebook. Subaru, Honda and Acura will offer in-dash streaming services via “Aha”. These services include an app that reads Facebook posts aloud while you are driving.
Automakers are concerned that these apps may provide distractions, but they are simply responding to consumer demands. According to Robert Acker, general manager for Aha, “the majority of auto companies are reactive. They see some announcement some other automaker made and they want to have the same services in their car.”
While government regulators are concerned, automakers are saying that these apps are actually reducing distractions by discouraging drivers from using the same apps on their phones. With these in-dash apps, drivers can use voice commands and huge touch screens for easier use.
According to Jim Buczkowski, director of electrical and electronics systems for Ford, “They are using these apps on their smartphones, anyway. So how can we enable them in a nondistracting way?”
Still, the main concern is whether drivers can easily and safely adjust to these changes. Automakers are concerned that regulators will take out these connected car apps. In fact, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report released last February mentioned that even navigation is a driving distraction.
This report made several recommendations to in-dash apps and operations. For one, apps should not let drivers look away from the road for at most two seconds.