CarPlay and Safety

It’s no surprise that some organizations are raising safety concerns about Apple’s forthcoming CarPlay technology, but the ship has already sailed on their main concern: distracted drivers. The fact is, CarPlay will help alleviate many of the biggest distractions in cars today.

Drivers are distracted. This isn’t new, drivers have been distracted since the first automobile rolled off the assembly line—people are talking, music playing on the radio, even other cars are distracting. What is new is that, if anything, drivers are becoming more distracted. Text messages, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter and many other beeps and vibrations take a driver’s eyes off the road to focus on their devices.

What we need is a technology that will allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road—that’s what CarPlay delivers. With a touch of the voice button, Siri will handle most tasks that you want to do with CarPlay. If you don’t use Siri, you’re missing out on a great technology.

Siri will be CarPlay’s secret weapon. It will allow you to manipulate CarPlay without being physically distracted by looking down at your device. Technology and safety all rolled into one unit.

CarPlay is, from my experience with in-car navigation systems, safer than anything else I’ve used. It will feature the same intuitive interface that we’ve become accustomed to using with Apple products. This isn’t just iOS 7 thrown into a car, it’s integration built specifically for the car. There’s a big difference. Yes, you can use the touchscreen on the dashboard, but you have to use some common sense too.

In stead of worrying about a technology that is working to make driving a vehicle safer, organizations should target technologies like Google Glass, or people that text on their devices while they drive. These are distracting and offer no safety measures at all.

I understand the arguments, but technology in automobiles isn’t going away. What we can do is demand that companies that offer these technologies do everything that they can to make them safe. CarPlay does that.

Distractions come in many different forms and there is no way we will stop all of them. I would love to stop the person looking down at their phone while driving head-on towards me on the highway.

The iPhone is a popular device and CarPlay will be immensely popular as well. I want access to all of my media in the car and the ability to make and accept phone calls while I’m driving. I also want the safest way possible to do this. I currently use a Bluetooth headset for phone calls and in-car Bluetooth for my music, but CarPlay will offer me even more flexibility, features and options. It will also offer more safety.

We are never going to get rid of distractions in the car. What we can do is give drivers the technology they need to help themselves be as safe as possible. That’s CarPlay.

  • T_Will

    Great commentary. I think most of the alarmists are just trying to ride the Apple media bandwagon.

    • Not necessarily. Some of us “alarmists” have been run off the road by distracted drivers and are concerned for our safety.

      • T_Will

        I understand that distracted driving is a bad thing, but I don’t see how CarPlay makes things worse.

        • Availability. These systems are more and more in demand and becoming easier for average car buys to afford. More availability means more potential.

          • T_Will

            That makes sense. What is your solution then? Outlaw screens in cars?

          • As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m a motorcyclist and therefore an exremist 🙂 so yeah – I’d ban all these kinds of “distractions”.

            (old man voice) “After all, if it was good enough for Henry Ford, it should be good enough for you!” 🙂

          • T_Will

            Glad you don’t make the laws then. 😛

            Besides I think we already have laws around reckless and distracted driving. But as a former motorcyclist, I do see your point, but it is a choice you make to ride a motorcycle with a bunch of distracted cagers on the road. 😉

          • “we already have laws around reckless and distracted driving.”

            Agreed – but those laws don’t help when you’re a smear on a highway. 🙁

            “it is a choice you make..”

            Also agreed. I completely accept the fact that I make a conscious choice to accept the danger inherent in motorcycling. But motorcycling is less dangerous if cagers aren’t actively being given things to make them worse at driving. 🙂

          • Dan H

            Shawn, I represent some middle ground here. I do long distance touring on my motorcycle and have had way too many scares from cagers texting, so we agree 100% on that. But on my bike I have a GPS and a bluetooth setup to allow use of my phone, intercom with nearby riders, and to hear GPS directions. These are potential distractions, obviously, but their very clever design (Sena SMH-10 and a zumo 660) can, used properly, enhance my safety. Good advance warning of turns, of fellow riders’ intentions to exit for gas, and phone alerts of bad weather are among the advantages. So they key is interface design and [gulp] common sense. Apple has a good track record with this, but it’s the common sense part that scares me.

          • “I do long distance touring on my motorcycle”

            Good for you! What do you ride?

            “their very clever design (Sena SMH-10 and a zumo 660)”

            Same setup I had.

            “it’s the common sense part that scares me.”

            Exactly. As you well know, relying on the common sense of the average driver is a fool’s errand.

          • Dan H

            Shawn, I ride a BMW F800ST. Did the Tail of the Dragon last year – long haul from Cape Cod, but so worth it. I used to be a newspaper editor here, working with Peter Cohen.

          • Great bike! My ex had one and I rode it on occasion. I had an FJR1300.

            And that IS a haul to the Dragon but I bet it was worth it. 🙂 We’d ride it regularly when I was living in Nashville, TN.

        • @T_Will:disqus First up are the quality of the Apple Maps, it might push you the wrong direction (And I do live in a country where the quality is not on par with Google Maps) and the apps. Although there will be Siri integration, until now she doesn’t play nice with 3rd party apps. And for example video, will it be possible to show a movie? Or Facetime Video in the car.. What about that??

          • T_Will

            Oh come on, Apple is only partnering with specific developers. You think they are dumb enough to allow video/Facetime video while driving? Hence, my alarmist comment.

          • I hope not, because that would take everything to a higher leven of dumbness. 🙂 Let’s see how it goes on the road and how many people will be using it in the end. The availability selection is quite small for the moment: Do you own a brand new Ferrari or a Volvo? Yes? Go to question 2: Do you own an iPhone 5 or higher? Yes, you might use it 🙂 In the meantime I hope there will be some laws coming up restricting the things you can do on the road and preschool all the idiots on the road (That might take the longest time 🙂 )

          • “And for example video, will it be possible to show a movie? Or Facetime Video in the car”

            Not possible now, unlikely to ever be. Many US states already have laws that prevent video entertainment systems in cars from being viewable by front passengers.

          • But from the one video they said apps “magically” appear. Does that mean Apple will block app updates with video options? What about non-video specific apps with, say, help videos?

            [real questions, no snark]

          • Just checked it, here in holland it is not forbidden as there’s no law for this yet. But you endanger traffic and fellow drivers and that is forbidden. The catch all rule 🙂

  • willo

    I think Apple have taken the outmost care when designing the UI in CarPlay. I remember the first time I tried Microsoft SYNC in a 2013 Ford Edge, it was very difficult to navigate, had a ton of small controls. I ended up opting out of it, and getting a “older” system. I considered it to be a safety hazard. This on the other hand looks just right. It´s incredibly simple to navigate around.

  • detour

    Why, exactly, is this safer than Google Glass?

    • Jake

      Agreed. I don’t see why Google Glass deserves to be vilified — an occasional glance upward, for things like directions or traffic alerts, shouldn’t be any more distracting than the occasional glance downward to the dashboard or your mirrors.

    • My thoughts exactly but the obvious answer is the use of Glass or CarPlay is dangerous. I would wager Glass is less dangerous since your eyes are at least in the direction of the road but that slight glance up and to the right could be life changing.

      Just think of having to glance to your rear view mirror; hint: your eyes are not seeing the road [meet the gaussian blur]. 🙂

      My biggest issue w/ CarPlay is all of the options. I like the mix of hardware buttons though but the software buttons are the problem. You can’t feel them without looking.

      Now, if Siri works great all the time in all areas [not expected], this is a non-issue unless people are sleep in the car or in any other situation where you can’t openly speak.

      Edit: I will add that I do like CarPlay. I think it is miles ahead of current options and Apple is no different than the ragged systems in cars now.

    • James Hughes

      The most obvious reason I can think of for Google glass being more dangerous than Carplay is precisely because it is in a closer line of sight than say a dashboard or screen on the dash area. The user, in my opinion, is more likely to look to see what notifications come up even if they are not related to driving. Moreover, I would imagine the user may keep looking in that area more often because it is more accessible and thereby be more inclined to use it. With something like Carplay driving is one of the main considerations when implementing usage as it relates to safety. Not so with Google glass.

    • Bass guy

      It’s safer because Google Glass is made by Google and they are the enemy, obviously.

    • deasys

      Because unlike Glass, CarPlay is not only hands-free, it’s eyes-free too.

    • Moreck

      CarPlay won’t visually distract the user the way that Google Glass does. There’s a persistent HUD displayed in the user’s field of vision, in the case of Google Glass. CarPlay is designed to free hands as well as eyes.

  • G

    Police cars (and taxis to some extent) have far more complex distractions than CarPlay. Reading paper maps, smoking or just yelling at the kids while driving used to be a common cause of distracted driver accidents. Above all people, just pay attention to the road.

  • Lukas

    Pretty funny reading this after the stuff this site wrote about Google Glass in cars.

    If Google had come out with CarPlay, and Apple with Glasses, this site would write about how irrelevant safety is when it comes to glasses, and how criminal it is to put something like CarPlay into cars.

    How Apple blogs have covered CarPlay and Google Glass in cars is just embarrassing.

    • Moreck

      It’s not just Apple blogs that bash Google Glass. The product has a VERY negative image right now, and that is entirely Google’s fault.