STUDY FINDS APPLE CARPLAY, ANDROID AUTO LESS DISTRACTING THAN AUTOMAKER INFOTAINMENT
AAA Foundation study finds built-in vehicle infotainment systems require more attention
The study could have implications for future automotive technology development.
The study examined five 2017 and 2018 vehicles to determine how much visual and mental demand was placed on drivers for tasks including: selecting or programming audio entertainment, calling and dialing, text messaging and programming navigation. The vehicles selected — the 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, 2017 Ford Mustang GT, 2018 Chevrolet Silverado LT, 2018 Kia Optima and 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie — were chosen based on whether the built-in system supported CarPlay and Android Auto.
In the study, the Kia Optima, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 generated overall moderate demand, while the Honda Ridgeline and Ford Mustang generated very high demand.
Also examined: Demand associated with completing tasks based on using voice commands, touch screens or other interactive technologies, and how the demand varies across vehicles and systems. These controls can contribute to distracted driving, which — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — results in more than 390,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths per year.
The AAA study found that “CarPlay and Android Auto systems generated an overall moderate level of demand, whereas the built-in (native) systems led to overall very high levels of demand.”
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The study also noted:
- With different types of tasks, CarPlay and Android Auto systems were less demanding than built-in infotainment systems, though CarPlay had lower overall demand than Android Auto for sending text messages, while Android Auto had lower overall demand than CarPlay for programming navigation
- With mode of interaction, visual demand associated with CarPlay and Android Auto was lower for both auditory/vocal and center stack interactions compared with built-in systems. “For CarPlay, demand levels were nominally lower with center stack interac-tions than for auditory/vocal interactions. For Android Auto, de-mand levels were lower with auditory/vocal interactions than for center stack interactions,” according to the study.
- With different vehicle makes and models, two of the five built-in infotainment systems generated very high levels of demand over-all and three generated moderately high levels of overall demand. For CarPlay and Android Auto, three vehicles generated overall high levels of demand and two vehicles generated overall moder-ate levels, though both systems also varied in overall demand de-pending on the vehicle
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CarPlay and Android Auto were 5 seconds faster on average than the vehicle’s native system when making a call and 15 seconds faster when programming navigation, the research found, timing that could significantly reduce the time drivers spend looking away from the road and steering wheel.
“Google and Apple are proving that it is possible to reduce the level of demand in-vehicle infotainment technology places on drivers,” David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in the AAA release. “While improvements are necessary before any of the systems can be considered safe to use while driving, this research shows that smartphone-based software has the potential to offer a simpler, more familiar design that is less confusing to drivers, and therefore less demanding.”
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Kia, in an email statement, said: “Kia Motors America places a priority on safety and will carefully evaluate the results of this study, along with others, as part of our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.”
AAA also evaluated distraction levels caused by built-in infotainment systems in 10 new 2017 and 2018 vehicles, expanding on previous research, and found that none of the 10 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while six systems generated high or very high demand on drivers.
Earlier, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety assessed 30 vehicles from a variety of manufacturers and the demand generated by built-in infotainment systems with tasks such as voice commands and sending text messages. Now that manufacturers provide access to CarPlay and Android Auto, the driver can perform these tasks through the vehicle’s interface.
“Why Apple CarPlay, Android Auto were found to be less distracting than built-in auto systems” was originally published by Automotive News on 6/27.
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