Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Connected Car: A Look at The Debate

More and more cars are appearing that allow people to be connected to the Internet from the front seat via Wi-Fi or 3G networks.  The Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, and Audi A6 are all instances of this. With these connections people will be able to stream videos, get up-to-the-minute traffic information, in addition to speak their text messages. These things all sound good, and we generally greet technological advancements with open arms but this make us ask the question: Is full connectivity in a moving vehicle a good thing?

Challenges of the Connected Car

Drivers get distracted and this can lead to accidents. In fact, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 80 % of all accidents involve driver inattention within 3 seconds of the collision. So, this being true, consider how distracted the driver would be if there is a funny YouTube video playing on an in-car screen.

Does Tech Distract Drivers?

Anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road could be a threat. Whether it’s texting, making calls, or merely having a friend in the car. Many states have made it criminal to text while driving for this reason. This is the primary reason why the news that cars are coming out with 3G connections doesn’t make everybody jump for joy.

Browsing the Web Inside Your Car

Soon motorists will be able to receive Facebook updates and browse the web on in-car navigation screens. We might even see the introduction of short-range communication allowing drivers that are sharing the road to connect to each other.

As we said before, we usually consider advancements in technology as a positive thing, however, the possible negative impacts that connected cars could have make us stop and think. While having all of these tech features in our cars improves enjoyment on the highway it’s vital that they don’t become a disruption to the driver.

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