Friday, January 8, 2010

Today's worst idea: dashboard computing

Yesterday's New York Times included Driven to Distraction - Despite Risks, Carmakers Integrate the Web With the Dash. This article reports on the increasing number of carmakers and technology companies that are working together to integrate computers and cars for "infotainment" in the front seat.
The first wave of these “infotainment systems,” as the tech and car industries call them, will hit the market this year. While built-in navigation features were once costly options, the new systems are likely to be standard equipment in a wide range of cars before long. They prevent drivers from watching video and using some other functions while the car is moving, but they can still pull up content as varied as restaurant reviews and the covers of music albums with the tap of a finger.
I don't think I have anything to say about this that you can't think of yourself. It's a terrible idea to put more distractions in front of drivers, especially bright distractions that require them to take their eyes off the road for seconds at a time. This is bad for drivers, bad for pedestrians, bad for cyclists, and has the potential to be bad for buildings and signposts as well.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Yikes, terrible.

“We are trying to make that driving experience one that is very engaging,” said Jim Buczkowski, the director of global electrical and electronics systems engineering at Ford.

"The driving experience" shouldn't be drawing your attention. Your surroundings should be. Which is exactly what this detracts from.

Thanks for pointing this article out! I had no idea about this, though unfortunately it's not surprising.