Technology has permeated the automotive industry, and it has led to the integration of latest innovations to improve the passenger experience. Of particular significance has been the innovation in the automotive infotainment systems. Today’s infotainment systems are quite advanced and offer drivers and co-passengers a wealth of information regarding traffic, weather, and local driving conditions. The innovation in automotive infotainment systems has led transformed the dashboards, offering a wealth of information to the driver. However, the transformation slowly seems to be counter-intuitive as many accidents have been reported that have occurred allegedly due to the over-indulgence of the driver with the vehicle’s auto-infotainment system.
According to the latest briefing by Consumer Reports, the car’s vehicle infotainment system may be creating dangerous distractions, leading to higher risk of accidents. This can also be attributed to a broader range of entertainment options available to drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving resulted in the death of over 3,400 people last year.
Distracted driving has been the cause of concern for authorities since mobile phone became ubiquitous, but earlier, the distraction was limited to calling and texting. However, with the plethora of infotainment options now available on the dashboards, drivers are at an increased risk of being distracted by technology.
Traffic fatalities in the U.S. reached 37,461 in 2016 – this was an increase of 5.6% from 2015, of which 3,450 fatalities were on account of distracted driving. The rise in the deaths on account of distracted driving has raised concerns about the actual benefits of auto infotainment systems. The move towards fully automated cars can stymie the rate of accidents and fatalities, but experts point that until a human is in charge of a vehicle, distractions related to auto infotainment systems can increase the risks.
Although there is a host of risks associated with automotive infotainment systems, their adoption and innovation see no signs of abating. The global auto infotainment systems market is likely to grow at a CAGR of over 6% to reach nearly US$ 32 billion in revenues by 2024. Adoption of auto infotainment systems is likely to remain robust in the US, with China and India being the prominent markets in Asia Pacific.
The link between technology and human challenges isn’t new. Since long, technology has been derided for creating more challenges than it has solved. Whether it is the instant gratification that today’s smartphones offer or the pervasive threat of fake news, the use of technology has been beset with its misuse. The intent towards developing innovative auto infotainment systems was focused on improving customer experience, but it seems its misuse is proving too costly for everyone.
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