Motorists don’t just have to worry about unpredictable drivers, road obstacles, and bad weather. They also have to contend with their own technology and distraction by gadgets including mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and on-board computing systems. Unfortunately, distraction-related accidents are on the rise, which can result in fatalities or serious injuries.
Apple is taking strides to prevent driver distraction with a few new software offerings.
One of the newest additions to your car might be an Apple-made computing system built directly into your car. CarPlay interfaces with your iOS devices to create a streamlined interface experience with decreased distraction.
The majority of the controls are Siri compatible, so you aren’t fumbling with dials or buttons or screen settings as you drive. Instead, you simply speak your commands aloud. This helps you keep your eyes on the road, where they belong.
You can also start and end calls from your CarPlay interface, with clear details about the call shown on your car’s display in a large font. And you can control your music playback with Siri, so that you don’t even have to hit the “Play” or “Next Song” buttons anymore.
These hands-free options will go a long way toward keeping distractions low on the road.
Siri Eyes Free
This is another onboard computing system that has been adopted by automotive companies like Honda and Acura. Much like CarPlay, the goal of this software is to make it possible to interface with your devices without using your eyes or hands. Siri Eyes Free even prevents the screen face of your phone from illuminating during your drive, so that you don’t jerk you attention away from the road. This system is very similar to the Siri system you’re used to on iOS. It allows you to verbally create appointments, dictate text messages, and get weather updates verbally through your car.
The Siri Eyes Free system debuted in December 2013. Rather than trying to stop drivers from interacting with their devices completely, Siri Eyes Free and CarPlay help reduce the visual and kinetic distractions associated with using a mobile device.
Patents filed by Apple continue to generate buzz, even after they’ve been on public record for quite some time. One of these patents proposes new ways to curtail distracted driving by disabling certain mobile features while you are in a car. Essentially, drivers will not be able to access text messaging features when their phones detect that they are in the driver’s seat of a car.
The patent describes environment detection technology, which helps your phone determine whether you’re in motion and your location in the car. This would presumably allow your passengers to use their cellphones while preventing you, the driver, from using yours.
Additionally, the system could be tied to your car’s ignition system, so that mobile features shut off once you start up the car. A special key registration feature would allow parents to monitor their kids’ behavior while driving. So young people who attempt to use their devices while driving might need to answer to mom and dad.
As distracted driving accidents become increasingly common, automotive and tech companies are seeking ways to make the roads safer for motorists. Vulnerable motorists, such as motorcycle riders, should take care to avoid distracted drivers on the road, since these erratic drivers pose a significant risk to everyone around them. Hopefully, new technology interfaces will help people keep their eyes on the road, instead of on their smartphones or tablets.