“Cars are going to become probably the most immersive consumer electronics device we have”

New Audi DemoTired of that long drive to and from work? Driving boredom getting you down? Feeling out of touch with the internet?

Never fear, the car manufacturers got you covered. It’s called the “infotainment system” and it made a huge splash at the CES in Las Vegas this week. The IT people love it, the safety people hate it, and everyone agrees that it will make distracted drivers even more distracted.

But “Safety is Job One” at Audi. It has a popup when it starts that says, “Please only use the online services when traffic conditions allow you to do so safely.”

Can’t make this stuff up.

The NYT has a nice article about it.

9 replies
  1. Steve A
    Steve A says:

    I’m sorry, but I’ll stick with my 1967 Jag and continue to yell “clear” before pushing the starter button. Now THAT is immersive infotainment!

  2. Keri
    Keri says:

    I suspect it’s going to take a successful attorney nailing the deep pocket industry for contributory negligence to make this nonsense stop.

  3. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    So when your house has been foreclosed and gas costs $10 a gallon, you’ll still have internet access while you’re living in your car in the WalMart parking lot.

  4. bencott
    bencott says:

    i would hope that manufacturers block video and interactive features unless the car is in park or the e-brake is engaged. that’s the standard now. it’s illegal to have a video source visible in the front seat while operating a motor vehicle anyway. i don’t see why the same law shouldn’t apply to internet access.

    • Eric
      Eric says:

      “i would hope that manufacturers block video and interactive features unless the car is in park or the e-brake is engaged”

      Some do and some don’t.

      “it’s illegal to have a video source visible in the front seat while operating a motor vehicle anyway.”

      Not in Florida. Just “Television Receiver” and there is an exemption for navigation devices.

      316.303 Television receivers.–

      (1) No motor vehicle operated on the highways of this state shall be equipped with television-type receiving equipment so located that the viewer or screen is visible from the driver’s seat.

      (2) This section does not prohibit the use of television-type receiving equipment used exclusively for safety or law enforcement purposes, provided such use is approved by the department.

      (3) This section does not prohibit the use of an electronic display used in conjunction with a vehicle navigation system.

      (4) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

      • fred_dot_u
        fred_dot_u says:

        Sadly, that type of law is virtually unenforceable. The interlock to prevent use while in motion is also something the young drivers of today are able to circumvent, about as easily as other “protections” are removed in iPhones and similar products.

        A friend, knowing of my cycling fanatacism, noted to me the above television article, stating that drivers he sees on his 90 minute commute(!) pay more attention to the GPS on the dash than they do to the roadway.

  5. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    If you’re is paying enough attention to keep your car in your lane and avoid rear-ending other motorists, you’re also paying enough attention to see and avoid hitting a vehicular cyclist who’s in front of you. You may NOT however, be able avoid a conflict in a more surprising situation, such as a pedestrian crossing the road, a cyclist running a stop sign, a cyclist “hiding” on the sidewalk as you’re making a left turn, etc.

  6. john
    john says:

    Like alcoholism, there is never enough infotainment once hooked. How many young minds now stay up all night to play Call of Duty, Halo, Modern Warfare or Left for Dead? According to industry data, our youth now average over 500 text messages per day. Therefore expect paths that were once less traveled will soon be occupied by GPS lovers, unenforceable laws will force drivers with a conscience to pull over and while some will use that wide-empty shoulder to annihilate the enemy on the screen (and perhaps other road terrorists on inferior equipment such as bikes?).

    We already know how distractive cell phones and texting options cause drivers to run red lights and swerve out of their lanes, but the most distractive devices are yet to hit the market and people are more hooked to infotainment than ever before.

  7. john
    john says:

    Will texting bans work?

    “Texting while driving… we know it’s insanely dangerous.”

    “From 2003 to 2008, the number of texts sent monthly by Americans surged from 2 billion to 110 billion. The urge to connect is primal, and even if you ban texting in the car, teens will try to get away with it. So what can we do? We should change our focus to the other side of the equation and curtail not the texting but the driving.”

    “The country is currently better suited to cars than to communication. This is completely bonkers.”


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