The major assumption made in the article is that connectivity is a good thing. Based on the toll of distracted driving it encourages, it is by definition a bad thing. Isn't that the ultimate quantifier - death and suffering?Indications are that connectivity is causing more traffic statistics than drunk driving. Every time I drive, I see drivers that slow down and wander around the road while they attend to their connectivity. I've seen drivers drive right through red lights and slow to 40mph in the left lane of a very busy expressway, while those stuck behind them are sweating and after a few minutes they take off. Some argue that the big problem is in the interface controls which demand taking one's eyes off the road. As if a large array of buttons indistinguishable by feel wasn't bad enough, touch-screen multilayer menus, even more distracting, are currently all the rage. It's not like us designers cannot design interfaces that can be efficiently manipulated by feel. A good example of the touchy-feeley approach are the array of controls for power seats that are not even labelled. I'm appalled at the irresponsibility of the engineering profession in this regard - our continued participation in the slaughter. Surely it's time to establish an engineering body to come up with standards in reducing distraction in this technology of our own creation and perpetuation.
Not only safety is relevant, pure usability is. My wife has a brand new BMW X5, and a few of the key operations you want in the nav system (saving to address book, etc.) are obtusely hidden in those multiple god-awful menus. Some real use case systems engineering is lacking.
Very true finding, the technology is being stuffed so much that a user is not using a single car will always find it difficult to use the things arranged in the car. You are quite right these things all the time took drivers attention off the road. There will be many arguments towards this sayings but the fact is in-car electronics is keeping driver busy in activities that are not important doing on road.
While I agree that the article assume connectivity is a good thing, I don't agree that connectivity must necessarily distract the driver. As in the case of OnStar, much of that connectivity is just reporting car system status to the so-called "cloud." And then the driver gets an e-mail periodically (at home), with the report.
Another aspect is of the course the emergency comms after an accident, when the driver is distracted, but not from driving.
Connectivity will soon include V2V comms, which most often should not involve driver distraction either. Although they might well wake up the driver, if he's doing something boneheaded.
It didn't surprise me at all the GM came out close to the top. The problem with GM has not been that they don't introduce new technologies. Mostly, at least in the past, that they use regular customers as their beta testers. They put out innovations BEFORE the bugs are ironed out. Although they have made great strides since the 1990s, in this regard.
It is not very clear in the article which connectivities are we talking about but most of us spend more than 1hr in commute everyday and most of the commute time can be used effectively by improving the internet connectivity. Infotainment is one aspect of connectivity but as important is email access, on-demand news and information, productivity suits etc.
In my opinion, for all those complex drop down functions and related settings which are likely to distract the main driving function, one option is such functions should be allowed to be operated in stand by mode - i.e when the ignition is not on.
So a driver can use such functions while at the curbside, in a parking lot when he.she is not actually driving the car but is in the car.
Such approach may nullify many a objections people have regarding these advanced connectivity functions distracting the main function fo driving
Thanks for the feedback. We at Machina Research take such things seriously.
The points about driver distraction are very important. It's certainly an issue that we, and the automotive industry, takes very seriously.
In most circumstances, the safest thing to do in a vehicle as the driver is nothing but drive. There are a few caveats to add to that, however. Having access to a navigation application should reduce the distraction of drivers trying to work out where they are going. Better than trying to read a map, certainly. And a connected navigation system should be able to navigate you around traffic jams, reducing time on the road, which statistically must reduce the likelihood of an accident. There is also evidence to suggest that driving while bored can also be a form of distraction. So some form of entertainment (music, audio books) can help alertness.
Some of the comments also assume that these services are all being used by the driver. Streaming video to seat-backs for the kids is, I hope you'll agree, uncontentious. Similarly remote door unlocking, or activation of heating or air-conditioning, both of which would (can) only occur while the car is stationary.
Not all connected car applications are distracting. Some are even the reverse.
The other argument, which is a little more contentious, is that it's better for people to be using the vehicle variant of an application (i.e. designed to minimise distraction) than it is for them to just use their mobile phone. Of course people shouldn't be texting while driving. But talking? Also banned in many countries. But people still do it. Answering the phone on a hands-free system is likely to be safer. Is it safer to not answer the phone at all? Of course. The next safest option is a system designed to minimise driver distraction, which is exactly what car makers are trying to design.
On the question of Mercedes, actually they did make it into the Top 10. I think some of it was lost in translation into the article. For the full list: https://machinaresearch.com/news/press-release-new-ranking-from-machina-research-reveals-the-top-global-connected-car-manufacturers/