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posted by janrinok on Friday September 10, @05:02AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the time-for-head-up-displays? dept.

The Screens in Cars Are Becoming a Problem:

You're driving and you're bored. Tired of staring at the road, your eyes drift toward the polished touchscreen to the right of your steering wheel—what the auto industry calls your "infotainment" system. First you scroll through its menus to select a pump-me-up playlist; then you use its mapping tool to reroute toward a nearby Starbucks.

Sounds like a typical driving experience these days. Sure, you temporarily looked away from the road while tapping through the infotainment system, but that's no big deal. Right?

Well, it could be. You might have been distracted for as long as 40 seconds while changing your destination, according to an analysis by the AAA Foundation—long enough to cover half a mile at 50 mph. As for choosing playlists, one study found that drivers selecting music with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto had slower reaction times than those who were high from smoking pot.

"Today's infotainment systems can be as distracting—if not more so—than personal electronic devices," says Jennifer Homendy, the newly confirmed chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. The federal government blames distraction for around 10 percent of the 38,680 annual traffic fatalities in the United States, but that's almost certainly an underestimate, since people aren't inclined to admit they were fiddling with a phone or a navigation system prior to a crash.

The problem isn't necessarily that infotainment displays are now a standard feature of all new vehicles; in theory, at least, they're preferable to drivers squinting to read a phone while operating a vehicle. But these systems are rapidly becoming glitzier, more complicated, and just plain bigger, with some resembling supersized tablets attached to your car console. Meanwhile, they're essentially unregulated.

Staff at the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are aware of infotainment's risk of distraction, and they have advised carmakers to avoid egregiously dangerous designs and functionalities. But carmakers know that infotainment presents one of their best chances to stand out from competitors. "When you go to a dealership, it's almost a given that the car will have a five-star crash rating, and that it accelerates and brakes quickly," says Kelly Funkhouser, the head of connected and automated vehicles at Consumer Reports. "What makes a difference in the car you actually pick is the infotainment system." That becomes even more true in a world of electric vehicles, which lack much of the sound and feel that seem to confer a unique character on cars with internal-combustion engines. (MotorTrend's ranking of the model year's best "exhaust sounds" doesn't work for electric vehicles that emit no exhaust.)

Journal Reference:
David G. Kidd, Jonathan Dobres, Ian Reagan, et al. Considering visual-manual tasks performed during highway driving in the context of two different sets of guidelines for embedded in-vehicle electronic systems, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2017.04.002)


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Friday September 10, @05:10AM (18 children)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Friday September 10, @05:10AM (#1176490)

    Good thing they're becoming mandatory in new cars because we don't trust people to actually know how to drive, instead mandating backup cameras on everything. /s

    And the little light that tells you when somebody is in your blind spot when you go to switch lanes. Because god forbid we just teach people to properly check their damn blind spots by turning their head.

    Damn kids, get off my lawn!

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Subsentient on Friday September 10, @05:21AM (13 children)

      by Subsentient (1111) on Friday September 10, @05:21AM (#1176492) Homepage Journal

      Just wait till you find out about self-driving cars.

      --
      Trying is the first step towards failure. -The Click
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday September 10, @05:53AM (8 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 10, @05:53AM (#1176502) Journal

        Just wait till you find out about self-driving cars.

        Those are still mythical creatures.

        A HUD-like windshield on the other side... I reckon that should have the car manufacturers salivating - that's when a crack in it will cost half the price of the car to replace and will lock the user to their service chain.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday September 10, @01:49PM

          by HiThere (866) on Friday September 10, @01:49PM (#1176604) Journal

          Not totally mythical, but they sure aren't general purpose vehicles. Yet.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Friday September 10, @11:30PM (5 children)

          by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Friday September 10, @11:30PM (#1176828)

          My understanding is that the biggest hold back for a driver HUD is that a lot of places have local level laws about anything "interfering" with the drivers field of view, even if it is information relevant to driving. If it is on the windshield it is illegal. I've even heard that having your tassel from graduation, or anything else, hanging from your rear view mirror is illegal in some jurisdictions because it interferes with the drivers field of view. .

          Until all the State level laws and regulations prohibiting driver HUDs gets cleaned up the tech is not going to see real deployment anytime soon. The basic HUD tech has been around since WW II.

          --
          "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
          • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Saturday September 11, @05:51AM (4 children)

            by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 11, @05:51AM (#1176889)

            It's outside the states you probably have in mind, but dangling things from the rear view mirror is illegal in the UK. Can't pass the road-worthniess MOT test with something dangling there. Likewise, no obstructions on the windscreen (larger than a road tax disc), but specifically in the area swept by the wipers. Elsewhere is free game.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @01:02PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @01:02PM (#1176977)

              It's also illegal in many states, but enforcement is generally lax. Most(?) states don't do inspections for tag renewal either.

            • (Score: 1) by BeaverCleaver on Saturday September 11, @11:49PM (2 children)

              by BeaverCleaver (5841) on Saturday September 11, @11:49PM (#1177127)

              This is a fantastic idea, I wish my country did this. You see way too many cars with distractions hanging from the mirror. Dreamcatchers, cartoon figures, crystals which scatter reflections all through the car...

              It just seems like a way to habituate the driver to motion in their peripheral vision, so they learn to ignore those visual cues.

              • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Sunday September 12, @12:14PM (1 child)

                by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 12, @12:14PM (#1177212)

                Even though our MOT rules require you to remove your fuzzy dice to get your pass certificate, there's nothing to stop you hanging them up again as you drive home.

                (Likewise, the certificate doesn't guarantee that the car will stay roadworthy for another 365 days, just that it was on one particular date.)

                • (Score: 1) by BeaverCleaver on Sunday September 12, @12:31PM

                  by BeaverCleaver (5841) on Sunday September 12, @12:31PM (#1177214)

                  It does at least point out to the owner that it's unsafe, and they can't claim later to have been unaware that it was so.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @05:07AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @05:07AM (#1176884)

          No, the HUDs are projected onto the windshield from the dashboard. I don't know why they aren't more popular. My dealership drops you off and picks you up when they're repairing your car. Half the time that 'taxi' car has a HUD. I asked one of the drivers if I could try it. It took me a minute to find the projected speed because it looked like the number was painted into the car in front of me. The HUD was too good for what I was expected.

          Then again, I don't need to constantly see my speed so maybe that's why not a lot of people buy them.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Friday September 10, @10:54AM (3 children)

        by tangomargarine (667) on Friday September 10, @10:54AM (#1176560)

        As a programmer, I join my fellow kind in stating that there is no way in hell you get me anywhere near one of them until the 3rd or 4th generation of the software.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @01:44PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @01:44PM (#1176598)

          Seconded.

          When it was time to help an older family member buy a new car in 2014, we specifically looked for one that had a simple one-line display (time, temp, miles-left-in-gas-tank). Most of the cars we looked at already had screens with backup cameras back then. I'm happy to have inherited that car recently, it still has low miles, and I plan to keep it for a good while.

          • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday September 10, @01:53PM

            by Freeman (732) on Friday September 10, @01:53PM (#1176608) Journal

            It's nice to have a backup camera. I feel that partly, because I have a kid that is shorter than the windows in a vehicle. Sure, kids shouldn't be where a car is backing out, but we also didn't used to have seat-belts in cars, either.

            --
            Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday September 10, @01:51PM

          by HiThere (866) on Friday September 10, @01:51PM (#1176607) Journal

          As someone who can't drive...possibly the second generation for short local trips along routes with low speeds.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by crafoo on Friday September 10, @06:35AM

      by crafoo (6639) on Friday September 10, @06:35AM (#1176511)

      We are breeding personal responsibility out of western civilization, intentionally. Knowing this, the only practical solution to a world of giant children and transportation is self driving vehicles that you rent rides from or lease. Ownership of course also requires some responsibility for maintenance care storage which no one will be capable of.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @06:24PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @06:24PM (#1176742)

      Turning your head is a sign that you don't know how to drive / have your mirrors setup poorly. Hint, while you are turned around looking at what is behind/to the side of you, you are still hurtling forward at 80mph / 130kph into that vehicle that has just stopped in front of you.

      If you cannot quickly check your mirrors with your head forward and see everything you need while always monitoring the forward direction with your peripheral vision, you need to add/adjust mirrors.

      And, touchscreens in cars are a stupid idea for similar reasons. There was a Tesla driver who crashed while trying to adjust his windshield wiper speed using the touch screen wiper controls?!!

      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Friday September 10, @11:09PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Friday September 10, @11:09PM (#1176821)

        Assuming the average person knows how to adjust their mirrors properly. And I wouldn't make that assumption, so probably safer to just glance over your shoulder.

        If you're following somebody so closely that glancing over your shoulder for an instant causes you to get in an accident, you have other problems with how you drive.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @10:01AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @10:01AM (#1176931)

      Backup cameras are great. Granted, it depends on the car you drive. I used to have an old Geo Metro hatchback that was like sitting in a bubble, you could see anything in any direction. Now I have a Dodge Ram that would be harder to manage without a backup camera. I can back directly under a trailer hitch, or all the way into a parking space without risking hitting the car on the opposite side. There are some cars where you can't see much of anything behind you without a camera.

      Ideally, though, there wouldn't be any touchscreens at all in cars. It's ok for setting up stuff while sitting in your driveway, like Bluetooth pairing, the tire pressure monitor, and radio presets. But you should never have to touch the screen while driving. It's just not possible to do it without causing a major distraction.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @05:22AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @05:22AM (#1176493)

    These screens are horrible. Shining bright lights, touchscreen interfaces, usually at the wrong level for your eyes. I'll stick with my single DIN head unit and dumb IC car that's almost the same age as me.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by driverless on Friday September 10, @06:42AM (1 child)

      by driverless (4770) on Friday September 10, @06:42AM (#1176514)

      That's why I always keep a few bottles of beer in the car, I'm never tempted to fiddle with the screen because I'm holding my third brewski of the day in the hand I'd need to use for the touch screen.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @02:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @02:06AM (#1176858)

        ^ Name checks out!

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Barenflimski on Friday September 10, @05:39AM (3 children)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Friday September 10, @05:39AM (#1176498)

    Pinto's are starting to sound better and better. Rear end me baby!

    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Friday September 10, @06:30AM (2 children)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Friday September 10, @06:30AM (#1176509)

      Volvos are the real deal. Rear end me all you like, I'll have a scratch in the paint coat, you need a new car.

      Old Volvos are built like tanks. Tons of steel for my protection and your doom, baby.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @07:43AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @07:43AM (#1176522)

        Youtube - Fifth Gear - Volvo 940 vs crappy French van ..guess who wins..
        https://youtu.be/qBDyeWofcLY [youtu.be]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @11:31PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @11:31PM (#1176829)

          Apparently, youtube wins.

          ... did I guess right?

  • (Score: 2) by Barenflimski on Friday September 10, @06:00AM (6 children)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Friday September 10, @06:00AM (#1176505)

    This is a great study. I'm really curious what data they used to determine this.

    According to High Times magazine, high (marijuana) folks are also better at driving than folks looking at their cell phones. In fact, according to that accredited publication, people high on marijuana are also better at a lot of things like: Music, drawing, making love (banging to you youngsters), watching movies and interestingly growing marijuana.

    After reading this, I'd really like to see a comparison between people that write these articles high on marijuana, high on cocaine, high on alcohol, high on life, and depressed.

    Honestly, why does one need to have a study about this stuff? One would think that it would be obvious that if someone wasn't paying attention to driving, that they wouldn't perform as well at a driving task.

    Thanks for reading. Everyone gets a participation trophy.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Mykl on Friday September 10, @07:14AM (3 children)

      by Mykl (1112) on Friday September 10, @07:14AM (#1176519)

      According to High Times magazine

      Good to see that you've gone to an unbiased independent source.

      people high on marijuana are also better at a lot of things like: ... making love

      I'd love to hear about how they objectively measured this. Is it better according to the partner, or the stoned person?

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by MostCynical on Friday September 10, @12:49PM (1 child)

        by MostCynical (2589) on Friday September 10, @12:49PM (#1176587) Journal

        ... partner?

        --
        “I've learned from experience that asking politely never works unless you have the upper hand.” Daisuke Aramaki, GIS:SAC
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday September 10, @02:05PM

          by Freeman (732) on Friday September 10, @02:05PM (#1176613) Journal

          Who are we kidding, in the event that one was smoking, it's highly likely they both were.

          --
          Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 2) by Barenflimski on Friday September 10, @03:13PM

        by Barenflimski (6836) on Friday September 10, @03:13PM (#1176645)

        This was sarcasm. I do appreciate that you thought it was serious though.

        But in all seriousness, "Reach Around Magazine" was where I got the love making stats.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @12:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @12:00PM (#1176569)

      And don't forget rope! Wacky weed advocates always seem to have a very unusual concern about rope and the rope industry.

    • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Saturday September 11, @12:11AM

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Saturday September 11, @12:11AM (#1176837)

      Alcohol and cell phones reduces the awareness of environment.

      Alcohol itself also causes the drinker to over estimate their skill and abilities, causing them to drive faster while at the same time reducing their reaction speed.

      THC increase your awareness of your surroundings causing the person to over compensate for a perceived danger. Even a moderately buzzed driver will drive slowly because everything is "moving too fast". Referred to as "increased risk awareness".

      But in both cases operating a vehicle or other machine while ANYTHING is affecting your awareness and reflexes is a bad idea.

      Honestly, why does one need to have a study about this stuff? One would think that it would be obvious that if someone wasn't paying attention to driving, that they wouldn't perform as well at a driving task.

      Because everyone has a subjective opinion. If your going to tell someone what to do you better be able to give a good reason and have facts to back it up otherwise you will have someone else ignore you because "its just your opinion, you can't prove it".

      Having a study that makes a conclusion that is substantiated by provable facts and independently replicated is far better than the alternative. Would you support a law banning table sugar just because someone else said "because table sugar is bad for you"?

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Friday September 10, @06:27AM (14 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Friday September 10, @06:27AM (#1176508)

    The older ones here, or those that have a car that's older than a decade, will probably understand when I say that back when I was young and cars could be fixed without a laptop or tablet, you could simply reach over blindly and hit the right switch because you'd slide your fingers across the buttons and you knew that the third button needs to be pressed twice then the second once for what you wanted to do.

    Now you have to take your eyes off the road to do basic stuff like regulating the air conditioning because you can't feel where you press the damn touch screen. Who thought this is a good idea?

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday September 10, @06:58AM (9 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 10, @06:58AM (#1176516) Homepage Journal

      Yes, but I would take that tactile feedback further still. Get rid of the overly soft seats, the overly soft ride, the power steering, power brakes, etc. You can't sense the environment through all that soundproofing and other nonsense in today's vehicles. Gimme a frame, an engine and transmission, wheels, brakes (drum or disk) the simplest controls, and a windshield. Heat, radio, and all that other jazz is just icing on the cake. Why haven't we got rid of gas guzzling cars, and everyone go back to motorcycles? Many of them can get more than 50mpg, at the same time reaching speeds in excess of 100mph. Since we don't have speed limits over 100mph, smaller 500 and 600cc bikes should be enough for almost everyone. No electronics needed. Fuel injection would be nice, but there aren't a lot of fuel injected bikes on the road, even today. Oh well, constant velocity carburetors are fine with me!

      --
      Let's go Brandon!
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by deimtee on Friday September 10, @07:49AM (2 children)

        by deimtee (3272) on Friday September 10, @07:49AM (#1176526) Journal

        You could do even better. Nobody should be doing 100mph in a city. If it wasn't for traffic you could completely cross a fairly big city in an hour at 35 mph (60kmh). That's probably way faster than in traffic now. Most of that traffic is single-person commuting.

        Create a City Zone. Inside that zone, mandate a maximum net vehicle weight of 300 kg and a hard limited maximum speed of 35 mph. Maximum width of 4 feet. Don't care how many wheels it has. You are going to get bikes, trikes, bubbles on wheels, things that look like Flintstone cars, things out of The Jetsons, etc. The main thing is they will be small. Split every lane in two. Instant doubling of throughput. The streets will also become a lot more friendly to pushbikes, reducing traffic and pollution further. Parking spots will be able to hold three or more vehicles, letting you park much closer, and re-purpose all that wasted land.

        Have separate licence and registration for Commercial Vehicles for freight. Inside the Zone, they have a max speed of 20kmh, but also the right to take up two lanes. If you really want to cut pollution, make them all electric too.

        --
        No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @10:03AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @10:03AM (#1176553)

          Yeah, and ban everything i don't like!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:32PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:32PM (#1176626)

          More lanes != more throughput.

          In fact I'm convinced that it's the opposite. Outside of accidents / blockage, the fewer lanes the faster the flow.

          More lanes just gives more people an opportunity to try to change lanes and weave through the traffic, cutting people off in the process and causing said traffic.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @01:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @01:50PM (#1176605)

        > ... and other nonsense in today's vehicles.

        VW Beetles for all, except the discriminating who can get a softer ride for rough roads from a Citroen 2CV.
        I keep thinking I should get a 2CV for local trips, the roads here (in frost heave / pothole country) are far from smooth.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Friday September 10, @03:03PM

        by Opportunist (5545) on Friday September 10, @03:03PM (#1176639)

        I don't quite see how this would improve road safety. Not having to take my eyes off the road to change some settings in my air conditioning makes sense, but what's the safety advantage in no power steering, no abs or no traction control?

      • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Saturday September 11, @05:57AM (3 children)

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 11, @05:57AM (#1176890)

        Why haven't we got rid of gas guzzling cars, and everyone go back to motorcycles?

        Because it's too tricky to balance my wife and kids on the pillion seat.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by darkfeline on Friday September 10, @07:44AM (3 children)

      by darkfeline (1030) on Friday September 10, @07:44AM (#1176523) Homepage

      I don't think that's a big deal. My car has physical buttons and I still look when I use them rather than feel blindly. What's important is not that I'm keeping my eyes on the road, but that I'm keeping my mind on the road. If I feel blindly, sure, my eyes may be on the road, but my mind is on interacting with the buttons, and my mind is occupied far long when I'm feeling around than when I'm looking at the buttons and pressing them immediately. I do make sure I'm in a situation when I can spare a moment however (driving at a safe speed with lots of room in front or stopped).

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Friday September 10, @03:06PM (2 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Friday September 10, @03:06PM (#1176640)

        Interesting. Am I really the only one who mastered the art of multitasking?

        • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @04:40PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @04:40PM (#1176689)

          You have not mastered that art because humans cannot multitask. People who think they are very good at it fail miserably when actually tested under controlled conditions.

          • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Friday September 10, @10:27PM

            by Opportunist (5545) on Friday September 10, @10:27PM (#1176814)

            I guess that answers my question in the positive...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @08:01AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @08:01AM (#1176528)

    drivers selecting music with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto had slower reaction times than those who were high from smoking pot.

    That is why I smoke pot while selecting music on Apple play.

    Also, the music sounds better that way!

    --

    You have the right to remain dead.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @10:32AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @10:32AM (#1176556)

    Roll out Level 3.11 self-driving and we can all play Cyberpunk 2077 on a screen where the steering wheel used to be.

  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday September 10, @05:28PM (1 child)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Friday September 10, @05:28PM (#1176729) Homepage Journal

    Which is why I dread the day when my old car gives up the ghost and I have to get a new one.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @09:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @09:51PM (#1176807)

      How soon before the delta on a new vehicle and a complete rebuild of one from the 00's is zero?

      I have no desire for any car with an LCD screen in it.

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