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Is Technology Becoming A Distraction


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 20 Feb 2012

pocketgpsworld.com
Twenty years ago in-car technology was something you could read about. Consumer satnav was still a long way off, dashboards still contained mechanical instruments and entertainment was an FM/LW radio or the tape cassette.

Fast forward to the present day and the average driver is presented with a dashboard that wouldn't look out of place in the Space Shuttle. Multi-function displays, digital message centers, LCD screens, satnav, video, reversing cameras, mobile phone integration, digital radio and even web browsers.

It's distracting and takes the attention of the driver away from the most important task, driving and maintaining observation out of the windscreen. It's hard enough taking in all the speed limits and other signage without having to absorb information from the myriad of displays inside the car.

Perhaps it is time that vehicle manufacturers took greater responsibility for this problem and integrated the various systems in a less distracting way.

Technology such as heads-up displays (HUD) were developed to enable pilots to maintain their focus out of the aircraft rather than having to look down at instruments. HUD could deliver key vehicle information to a driver but whilst it has begun to appear in passenger vehicles, it remains an uncommon feature.

Saab's black dash, where only those instruments that are essential to the driver, are illuminated works superbly but has not seen widespread usage.

What do you think could be done to reduce the driver workload? Or are we happy to let government step in and legislate?



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Comments
Posted by Kremmen on Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:56 am Reply with quote

This is one of the reasons I'm annoyed by TrafficMasters decision to stop Oracle / Freeway in June 2012.

Oracle and Freeway has the advantage of talking to you so you keep your eyes on the road. Integrated units even mute the radio whilst it's doing so.

My RDS-TMC SatNav traffic display has to be scrutinised to take in what it's displaying.


Garmin 2699 LMT-D (In the car)
Garmin 2599 LMT-D (Indoor test rig)
Garmin 2597 LMT (Redundant)

Let's be careful out there !

 
Posted by Darren on Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:19 am Reply with quote

Indeed, another retrograde step.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by Horatio on Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:49 am Reply with quote

This strikes me as an article that was written with a view to proving a point. It has picked on all of the disadvantages that modern technology has introduced. It has failed to consider the driver aids that it provides.

Take sat-nav for example. Yes, it can be distracting if used incorrectly. Used properly, you can simply listen to the voice prompts and (where there's any ambiguity) follow the arrow. Looking for street signs and house numbers is a lot more distracting than occasionally glancing at your navigation screen.

Integrated Bluetooth lets you make and receive calls without taking your hands off the steering wheel. True, it'd be safer still if people didn't phone while driving at all, but the fact that they do is a reality that we're probably stuck with from here on in.

CD changers, and latterly MP3 memory stick players have taken away the temptation to swap cassettes and CDs while the vehicle is moving. One of the very first Police Stop videos showed a Mini crashing into a parked car. Apparently the driver was changing cassettes.

Going off on a tangent, I'm also mourning the loss of TrafficMaster (the YQ2 in my case.) But I don't hold a grudge against TrafficMaster themselves. I don't know about the Freeway but the YQ and YQ2 used to receive their data from the old Cellnet pager network. When that service was finally axed, it became impossible to continue the service.

There's always the option of TrafficTV if you have a compatible smartphone, though the YQ had a much clearer display and was a lot easier to use.


TomTom GO700
Renault Carminat TomTom
TrafficMaster YQ2 (now forcibly retired, and sadly missed.)

 
Posted by Graculus on Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:38 pm Reply with quote

Kremmen Wrote:
This is one of the reasons I'm annoyed by TrafficMasters decision to stop Oracle / Freeway in June 2012.

When you say they are stopping these services, do you mean they are ceasing to transmit the information from the traffic sensor locations (those blue cones)? I have an ancient AA/TrafficMaster 1800 from before the days of annual subscription, so it provides me with basic information for free, and has done for over 10 years now. When it beeps at me, I then go to the internet or one of the dial-up services to see if it's something to worry about.

It'd be a shame to lose something like this.


 
Posted by Gl3n on Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:43 pm Reply with quote

When you still see people using hand-held phones in cars whilst driving and the police don't do anythingwhen they see that this sort of law becomes pointless. I have seen someone jump a red light whilst using a phone and the police car that was in front of me and should have seen it didn't do anything it makes most of these sort of laws pointless.

Yes drivers shouldn't be distracted but there are also sorts of things that affect a driver. An arguement with the wife, money problems and so on. Are they also going to be outlawed?

I was going along a motorway recently and a woman (who was driving) was looking/leaniong in to the back of the car to "entertain" a baby. So are baby seats going to be banned? Of course not.

Most of these proposals are impractical and affect only a few people who would probably be distracted by something anyway.


 
Posted by Darren on Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:56 pm Reply with quote

Horatio Wrote:
This strikes me as an article that was written with a view to proving a point. It has picked on all of the disadvantages that modern technology has introduced. It has failed to consider the driver aids that it provides.

I agree that many advances have benefited the driver and safety, no argument. But modern dashboards look more akin to video arcades with seemingly little thought given to the distraction they may cause.

I posted this to stimulate debate, nothing more. I've no hidden agenda or opinionI wish to foist on anyone!


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by M8TJT on Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:08 pm Reply with quote

Gl3n Wrote:
When you still see people using hand-held phones .... I have seen someone jump a red light whilst using a phone .....An arguement with the wife, money problems and so on. ..... I was going along a motorway recently and a woman (who was driving) was looking/leaniong in to the back of the car to "entertain" a baby.
Off Topic But the topic is not about any of these obviously wrong things that have been played out time and time again in other threads. It's about modern dashboard displays being distracting.

PS. I notice in the opening piccy, there is not even enough room for a steering wheel Shocked
Ah, I see it now Very Happy


 
Posted by TieJustice on Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:28 pm Reply with quote

I would have to say it can be a good thing if done right take a look at this web http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-10-head-up-prize-munich.html

I think Pocket GPS did do a revue on it,
this has to be one the better ones out there just think how many time have you just looked at that radio or on board satnav just that second could be a distraction.

even with hands free, there is only so much room on a steering wheel to put more buttons on it, and now we have 4 storks coming out every where.

AUTOMATION of the car is the only way left for us gadget fans.
lights, windscreen wipers, fog, braking, are all auto turned on or off.(but you TILL HAVE TO INDICATE YOUR INTENTIONS) telepathy is still not understood

satNav are available with voice controlled, so are PHONES(so putting it on speaker and holding it, is still not hands free( i see them every day siting at the GREEN light txting away with there head down ,I just slowly pull away so they don't notice, then all the cars start beeping at them.

so in conclusion at this time, we can maintain full control of the car with out taking your hand off of the wheel and with out looking to see what radio station your on, and be safe and not distracted.[/img]


 
Posted by mostdom on Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:36 am Reply with quote

I think one of the factors be overlooked here is too much information can be a bad thing. Comments here talk about devices that improve our ability to drive but then having too many of them can be a hazzard too. See people who put there satnav in the centre of the windsheild and obscure their vision, then have a seperate handsfree, then there's my mp3 player, not to mention the wife. Even with something like headup display you could also overload the driver with information and clever graphics and create the same problem. The temptation for manufacturers is to sell advertising space could also be too great.

I think integration is the way to go as Darren said, but I also think we sometimes need to get rid of the fluff and simplify things.


Dom

HERE LIES PND May it rest in peace.
Navigon 7310/iPhone Navigon&Copilot

 
Posted by mistersaxon on Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:17 am Reply with quote

Darren Wrote:
[...] modern dashboards look more akin to video arcades with seemingly little thought given to the distraction they may cause.


I find the technology to be very low-profile when it works. When it doesn't however, the reliance on it is such that there is a temptation to try and fix it whilst still in motion and then you get people rebooting phones and fiddling with Bluetooth car kits whilst driving.

Head-up displays are a good solution (can I have some built in to my sunglasses please?) but really good voice control will make a bigger difference to many drivers - and no, I don't mean Siri or other systems that stop working when the network is poor.


<br>
Rich.
Kit: TomTom iPhone WEurope on iPhone6s+ / iPad Pro
w/ Interphone BT headset on a Honda Blackbird (should change this really - the bike, not the headset)

 
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