In-Vehicle Technologies: Experience & Research

Discussion Areas
Experience with Technology
Cell Phones
Navigation Systems
Night Vision
Wireless Internet
Info And Entertainment
Technical Issues
Benefits And Risk
Measuring Distraction
Design Features
Safety Campaigns
Index Of Papers
Ask The Expert
Take the Polls
Other Resources
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This page is devoted to discussions regarding specific in-vehicle technologies: cell phones, navigation systems, night vision systems, wireless Internet, and information and entertainment systems, among others. The purpose is to provide an avenue for drivers to share their experiences with, and impressions of these technologies so that benefits of these systems can be realized without causing unsafe driver distraction. Although specific in-vehicle devices are emphasized here, comment and discussion relevant to other non-technological or conventional sources of distraction are also welcome. Be sure to take or view results of our informal polls.

Please tell us about your experience with these technologies…


Content Available In Each Topic Area


  Ask the Expert  



Cell Phones
             310comments   4     2   6   
Navigation Systems
   Issues in the Evaluation of Driver Distraction Associated with In-Vehicle Information and Telecommunications Systems   5/18/00 9:44:51 AM

   Driver Workload Assessment of Route Guidance System Destination Entry While Driving: A Test Track Study   5/30/00 5:41:52 PM

   For navigation systems, how important a feature is the capability to view maps while driving (when the vehicle is in motion)?   

   Would you purchase a system that prevents you from entering a destination address while the vehicle is in motion?   

   Given that many in-vehicle technologies are now available and being used in Japan, what lessons can you offer to make these systems safer for drivers?   7/6/00 11:38:54 AM

comments   Issues with in-vehicle and telecommunications   7/6/00 1:33:21 PM

comments   re driver distractions   7/6/00 4:53:52 PM

comments   Police accident rate using radios   7/10/00 8:58:49 PM

comments   In-Vehicle Navigation Systems and Other Yuppie Toys   7/12/00 10:37:52 AM

comments   Road Testing the Best and Worst Nav Systems   7/13/00 1:55:27 PM
Christian   Wardlaw
Private Citizen

I've used a number of navigation systems in my work as an automotive journalist, and few are user-friendly enough to program quickly, much less operate while on the road. Most are located in the center of the dash, requiring audio and sometimes climate controls to be bundled with the system to create enough space for the screen. These are the worst. It is ridiculous to force the driver to use toggles and buttons, which scroll thru menus on a tiny screen that can easily be washed out by sunlight, to change audio and climate settings. I would never buy a car that contained a system like this. Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac make perhaps the worst of this kind, installed in the S-Class and DeVille (though offhand, I cannot recall if either bundles the climate control functions with the nav sys -- sorry), but at least Mercedes gives you satellite controls on the steering wheel and a small function monitor in the gauge cluster. Heck, the Benz has a hard-bound manual with more than 100 pages in it that describes how to use the stereo, nav sys and integrated phone functions. It's almost as thick as the manual describing the features and operation of the rest of the car! I spent hours reading it and playing with the gizmos, and the next day I'd forgotten half of what I'd learned. Do we really need this kind of complexity in today's vehicles? Better is the type of system found in the Lincoln Navigator and Land Rover Range Rover. Both of these vehicles offer conventional audio and climate controls, with the nav sys a stand-alone unit. The problem with the one in the Navigator is that it is located down low, so drivers tempted to check the map while hurtling along at 80 mph (traffic speed in LA when things aren't tied up) will not see anything happening in front of the vehicle, even peripherally. I did have the pleasure of driving a 2001 Volvo V70 recently, and the nav sys in this car is a stand-alone unit whose screen pops up from the top of the dashboard. Fingertip controls on the back of the top right steering wheel spoke operate the functions, and the system is relatively easy to use. It's unobtrusive in terms of design, and when viewing the screen at speed, you're still aware of brake lights that might be illuminating in front of you. With the exception of the fact that a front passenger cannot control the system because of the location of the buttons on the steering wheel, this is the best navigation system I've ever used. Does voice-recognition technology help? Not bloody likely, if my experience in the Jaguar S-Type is any indication. Half the time it didn't recognize what I was saying unless I concentrated on speaking slowly, and the damn thing was very hard to learn how to use. In my opinion, the best of the breed is found in Volvos, and all they need to do now is provide dash controls (in addition to those on the steering wheel spoke) so a front passenger, when present, can fiddle with the programming rather than the driver.

comments   My sister was critically hurt by a guy staring at a GPS.   7/14/00 12:20:59 PM

comments   Navigation tools    7/14/00 1:00:41 PM

comments   should be audio-enabled ONLY while car is in motion   7/15/00 12:42:32 AM

comments   You are so right   7/15/00 12:52:27 AM

comments   What about Maps?   7/15/00 10:18:48 PM

comments   Data would not be accurate   7/17/00 1:29:06 PM

comments   "HEADS UP AND HANDS ON"   7/17/00 2:34:06 PM

comments   Mark... you are SO RIGHT, DUDE!   7/17/00 3:52:55 PM

comments   GPS nav systems - Save lives   7/18/00 4:20:25 PM

comments   use of cell phones while driving   7/18/00 6:22:20 PM

comments   Long-term solution   7/18/00 8:56:05 PM

comments   Message from the Moderator   7/19/00 8:25:38 AM

comments   GPS nave systems -Save lives (yeah right)   7/19/00 9:06:16 AM

comments   A Dangerous Distraction in Moving Vehicles   7/19/00 9:49:34 AM

comments   unnecessary toys   7/19/00 4:11:04 PM

comments   Yes, this is believable   7/19/00 10:27:56 PM

comments   Yes, this is believable   7/19/00 10:29:13 PM

comments   No substitute for a live person   7/20/00 10:11:52 AM

comments   Come again?   7/20/00 1:07:46 PM

comments   Reference   7/20/00 3:29:34 PM

comments   Have you used one?   7/21/00 12:38:34 AM

comments   The Honda Navigation System   7/24/00 10:30:50 AM

comments   Controlling usage of driver interface computers.   7/24/00 12:02:20 PM

   In your opinion, would a night vision system (designed to display distant objects on a head-up display low on the windshield) improve safety or pose a threat to safety by distracting drivers?   

comments   Technology and Resistance   7/25/00 7:27:36 PM

comments   Accidents do happen to police   7/26/00 5:56:31 AM

comments   Re-Police Vehicles   7/27/00 5:31:44 PM

comments   Personal experience   7/27/00 7:37:34 PM

comments   Mobile Desk for GPS   7/28/00 6:18:36 PM

comments   Navigation systems like anything else require common sense.   7/29/00 10:46:27 PM

comments   Maybe that's why that Boston Police car hit the cab I was in..   7/30/00 11:30:10 PM

comments   Non-Tech distractions: Paper maps, kids, getting lost   8/1/00 3:51:23 PM

comments   The Human Interface   8/3/00 5:25:43 AM

comments   No visual display while moving.   8/5/00 8:57:12 AM

comments   Safety benefits of navigation systems   8/8/00 12:28:17 PM

comments   HEADS UP DISPLAY, POLICE EXPERIENCE   8/10/00 9:24:50 AM

comments   Potential Expansion of the 15-Second Rule   8/11/00 9:30:46 AM

comments   map display is very useful   8/11/00 10:28:55 AM

comments   Destination input while driving   8/11/00 10:34:12 AM
Night Vision Systems
Wireless Internet (E-mail)
             29comments   2   
Information & Entertainment Systems