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News: Is Technology Becoming A Distraction?

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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Posted on Monday, February 20 @ 10:56:36 UTC by Darren Griffin

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