Safety

New Study from AAA Finds Siri Makes Drivers Safer – Sort of…

Traffic Safety Pulse August 2018

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto in-vehicle information systems are significantly less distracting than those built-in infotainment systems designed by automakers.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety teamed up with researchers from the University of Utah to evaluate five vehicles manufactured in 2017 and 2018 to determine the amount of visual and mental demand placed on drivers by CarPlay, Android Auto and each vehicle’s native infotainment system. Visual demand, cognitive demand and the time taken to complete a task were all used as measurements of the level of demand required by each system.

While no infotainment system is safe to use while driving, the Carplay and Android Auto systems proved to be an average of 24 percent (5 seconds) faster to navigate than the vehicle’s native system when making a call and 31 percent (15 seconds) faster when programming navigation. Previous studies have shown that drivers who take their eyes from the road for just two seconds double their risk of getting in a crash, so every second counts.

Cumulative results of the study showed that CarPlay and Android Auto generated an overall moderate level of demand, while the native vehicle systems created very high levels of demand for drivers.

According to researchers, the key to the efficiency of the Apple and Google systems is that they offer a simpler, more familiar design that is less confusing for drivers, and therefore less demanding. Additionally, these systems use cloud-based voice technology such as Siri and Google Assistant, which adapt to a user’s voice over time to result in faster system-response times and enhanced speech processing.

While the CarPlay and Android Auto systems proved to be less demanding than the native systems, researchers still caution drivers that the use of any infotainment technology while driving is dangerous. Even at what is considered a “moderate” level of demand, CarPlay and Android Auto systems still took up to 33 seconds to complete a navigation task, while native systems took up to 48 seconds, the equivalent time it would take to cross the length of three football fields while going just 25 mph.

Additional research in this study showed that, of the native infotainment systems in 10 2017/2018 model vehicles, none produced a low demand of drivers, and six produced a high or very high level of demand.

View the full report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety here, and visit AAA.com/distraction to learn more. 

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