Deaths and injuries from car accidents continue to be a huge source of trauma and loss in the United States. Between January and June of this year, almost 19,000 Americans were killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents, making it the deadliest traffic year since 2007.
The bad news is that the pattern of car accidents has only gotten worse--with a 14 percent increase over the same period of time last year. While 19,000 may seem like a lot, nearly 2.3 million serious injuries occurred from driving incidents between January and June 2015. A serious injury in this circumstance is defined as one requiring medical consultation. The costs of these crashes and injuries amount to roughly $152 billion per year. This figure includes wage and productivity losses, property damage, vehicle damage, and medical expenses. While there are many causes that play roles in automobile accidents, it has been proven that the use of electronic devices while driving is a big part of it. When a driver is distracted, he is more likely to cause a mistake that can result in an accident.
Car accidents have been extremely damaging for our safety, livelihood, and economy. It has become clear that a solution is necessary. Making vehicles safer would mean fewer injuries, fewer deaths, and less loss of capital. Embracing this need, many technology companies are making moves to revolutionize the industry. In doing so, electronic and automobile companies are linking the usage of smartphones in a vehicle to provide increased safety, which aims to lower the quantity of accidents and crashes by limiting distractions. In doing so, companies hope to integrate the smart phone's capabilities into the vehicle, so that the driver does not have to be distracted by operating his phone while driving.
Here are few ways that technology is improving the safety of transportation, as well as the implications that come with them:
1. Android Auto
The Android Auto system utilizes a dashboard display to allow the driver to keep his eyes fixed on the road while still having all of the capabilities of his smart phone. The driver can make phone calls, answer calls, send and receive texts, and search Google Maps without taking his eyes off of the road. By enabling the driver to communicate and navigate with the dashboard rather than his phone, he can keep his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times. Better yet, the entire system is touch-free. Android Auto communicates with the driver through its audio system so that communication both ways is done orally.
2. Apple CarPlay
Among all of the recent safety innovation for vehicles, Apple Car Play has become one of the most popular. Similar in some ways to the Android Auto system, Apple CarPlay focuses on enabling users to easily and safely navigate the functionalities without increasing risk on the road. Apple Car Play also allows audio commands to communicate with the vehicles control system. However, unlike the Android version, Apple CarPlay uses voice commands exclusively for testing, maps, phone calls, and a few other basic apps. The difference of Android is that it is includes more options for voice commands and functionalities. However, Apple supporters believe that more is not always better. Especially in a case where someone is operating a motor vehicle--added distractions are not necessarily a good idea. In addition, accessing Apple's music playlist while using Apple CarPlay will cost you $10 a month whereas Android's version is free.
3. Implications and Stipulations of Car Audio Technology
While both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide hope for the safety of our roads, both have their stipulations and potential issues. With both systems, the audio commands are not tuned perfectly. In some cases, it is possible that you will say one thing and the system will interpret you saying something else. This could cause frustration or otherwise cause you to take your eyes off the road. The other concern is that while Apple and Google's system help the driver keep their hands and eyes on the road, they do not necessarily keep the driver's focus on the road. Since the driver will be engaged with these new systems, their focus will be on operating the system to perform a desired function.