Android Auto and CarPlay Are a Double-Edged Sword, Fueling Distracted Driving

Android Auto and CarPlay Are a Double-Edged Sword, Fueling Distracted Driving

But on the other hand, the more Android Auto and CarPlay developed and took over the automotive industry, the greater the impact they had on the driving experience.

The biggest shortcoming is the way they encourage distracted driving.

Because Android Auto and CarPlay run mobile apps on the dashboard screen, drivers are tempted to take their eyes off the road more often. Programs such as Google Maps, Waze or Spotify already integrate voice support thanks to the native digital assistant on any platform, but if something is running on the screen, drivers often have to look at it.

Research conducted by Straits Research reveals alarming figures on this front. While 98 percent of new cars come with Android Auto and CarPlay, infotainment systems are becoming a major source of distraction behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the study found that distracted driving-related deaths increased by 22 percent last year.

Android Auto and CarPlay have voice command support, so drivers can control everything running on the screen without turning to touch input.

For example, Google Assistant and Siri can set the navigation app to a certain address and instruct Spotify to play a specific song. The assistants also allow users to pick up and make calls hands-free with voice commands.

On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that these efforts aren’t enough to eradicate infotainment-related distracted driving.

Both Google and Apple block video applications on their mobile projection systems, specifically because they will encourage drivers to look at the screen. However, users have still discovered ways to unlock the likes of YouTube and Netflix on the dashboard screen. For example, jailbreaking an iPhone allows users to bypass these restrictions and watch YouTube videos when CarPlay is connected.

Meanwhile, Straits Research says the infotainment market is expected to see a major boost towards the end of the decade. The company estimates an annual growth rate of 8.8 percent until 2023.

Google and Apple have also prepared massive upgrades for their infotainment solutions. Google is betting everything on Android Automotive, the complete operating system that powers the entire range of infotainment features. Automakers such as Volvo, Polestar, Renault and General Motors have already adopted Android Automotive, with more companies expected to follow suit in the coming years.

Apple is getting ready to unveil the next generation of CarPlay as well. The new platform will significantly upgrade the existing feature set, allowing CarPlay to use all screens in the car. At the same time, CarPlay will gain access to vehicle data, including the battery range, which could eventually provide additional capabilities, such as automatic routing to a nearby charging station when the range falls below a certain threshold.

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