CRA Technology & Innovation Explored – Global
A new study by IAM RoadSmart finds stopping distances, lane control and response to external stimuli are all negatively affected by the use of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Reaction times of drivers tested were significantly slower than someone who had used cannabis and five times worse than someone driving at the legal limit of alcohol consumption.
The study found that reaction times at motorway speeds increased average stopping distances to between four and five car lengths. The study also found that drivers took their eyes off the road for as long as 16 seconds while driving (equivalent to a distance of more than 500 metres at 112 km/h), and using touch control resulted in reaction times that were even worse than texting while driving.
Commenting on the alarming findings, Neil Greig, policy and research director, IAM RoadSmart, said: “Driver distraction is estimated to be a factor in around a third of all road collisions in Europe each year. We are now calling on industry and government to openly test and approve such systems and develop consistent standards that genuinely help minimise driver distraction.”
During the study, drivers completed a series of three drives on the same simulated test route to assess the level of impact of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
On the first run, drivers did not interact with the system. On subsequent runs, drivers interacted with the system using voice control only and then using touch control only.
Both methods of control were found to significantly distract drivers, however, touchscreen control proved the more distracting of the two.
While many drivers realised the system was causing a distraction and modified their behaviour by, for example, slowing down, performance was still adversely affected with drivers unable to maintain a constant distance to the vehicle in front, reacting more slowly to sudden occurrences and deviating outside of their lane.
Neil added: “While we would like to see a review of these systems in the future, we would encourage owners of vehicles fitted with these systems to use them in the safest possible way, including setting everything up before starting a journey. Most participants in the study report they use touch rather than voice control in real-world driving. As the results clearly show, this is the most distracting, so if there is a need to use the systems while on the go, voice control is a far safer method.
The key findings from the report are:
- Controlling the vehicle’s position in the lane and keeping a consistent speed and headway to the vehicle in front suffered significantly when interacting with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Participants failed to react as often to a stimulus on the road ahead when engaging with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay – with reaction times being more than 50 per cent slower.
- Use of either system via touch control caused drivers to take their eyes off the road for longer than 12 seconds. This does not meet the guidelines set out by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). When using voice control, all measures were within NHTSA guidelines.
- Participants underestimated the time they thought they had spent looking away from the road by as much as five seconds, when engaging with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via touch control.
Credit to Lowvelder.