Advances in car technology are almost always positive, but with carmakers now developing in-car apps, I’m not so sure. Won’t web apps in our cars be just another distraction that could make our roads more dangerous?
The latest brand to follow the trend is electric manufacturer Tesla, which will incorporate a 17-inch touch-screen interface into the dash of the 2012 Tesla S (pictured). This latter piece of kit will be capable of web browsing with 3G connectivity, as well as controlling entertainment and sat nav systems.
It’s great that manufacturers are attempting to improve the in-car experience of their new models, but I fear these systems could prove another distraction for the modern-day driver, which could cause more accidents.
Car apps could be useful
Manufacturers and tech fans will argue that in-car apps will have their advantages. Instant updates for satellite navigation systems, such as traffic reports and congestion feedback, would be a welcome addition to any vehicle in their eyes.
And downloads to upgrade existing systems will mean you won’t have to take your car to a dealership to improve the specification of your vehicle or update current features.
It will also open up opportunities for manufacturers to give consumers detailed information about the cars they own. Owner manuals available at the touch of a button could mean the end of riffling through manual indexes to find important information like tyre pressures.
And these apps can also work as reminders for service intervals, MOT due dates and so forth.
Mobile Twitter updaters
But if the news stories and discussions I’ve read on blogs are to be believed, they’re most likely to be used socially – as rolling Twitter update mechanisms.
Most of the online commentaries I’ve read discuss the use of these in-car apps to update social media on the move and browse the web – one source even used the line: ‘[in-car apps] can do everything from update Twitter and Facebook to display the weather or distract the driver at traffic lights’.
A recent study has already highlighted the fact that an alarming number of motorists are using their smartphones behind the wheel to update Facebook statuses and tweet – surely making these applications even easier to access in a car will only encourage this distracting behaviour?
Like many in-car DVD players, these systems would be deemed safer if they only operated when the car is stationary. But even if that was the case, people would just use their smartphone or iPad, wouldn’t they?
Do you share my concerns about safety, or is this just a natural and inevitable development in car technology?