"to ensure the systems or devices (auto makers)
provide in their vehicles are less likely to distract the driver
with tasks not directly relevant to safely operating the
vehicle, or cause undue distraction by engaging the driver's
eyes or hands for more than a very limited duration while
This is just Phase 1. Phase 2 guidelines will consider portable
devices not built into the car; Phase 3 guidelines may
address voice-activated controls to minimize distraction in
factory-installed aftermarket and portable devices.
Some suggest voice recognition and speech-to-text technologies will
carry the day, but at least in the next few years, you're going to
have to look away from the road in some form to make sure what you
said is getting represented properly as a message or instruction or
Some suggest that heads-up display technology (like the stuff Rockwell
Collins does for aircraft) can solve the problem, but not
really: You may have the road in your distance vision, but you're
still focusing on the window.
On the other hand, even if making a phone connection in the car were almost telepathic, just the simple act of talking with someone can decrease driver attention, according to a Carnegie Mellon study.
In the near term, I'd suggest one solution. Companies like Sensor
Platforms are leveraging algorithms to give sensor-laden
smart phones the intelligence we expect from them. For example, if
the phone is in your back pocket, the software will know, by reading
sensor data, that it shouldn't "butt-dial" your ex-boss.
Extend that into the car in the next few generations and you can
imagine a use case in which you simply can't text while driving. Or
the vehicle electronics that your phone ties into refuses to allow
you text in other ways.
Ultimately, electronics will win the day. A sensor-laden car will
actually allow you to be as distracted as you want because it'll be called
an autonomous vehicle at that point.