This is the interior of the most modern cars on the market

Image of the interior of the new 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, which will include a 48-inch screen spanning the entire width of the car.  Photo: Courtesy of Ford.

Image of the interior of the new 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, which will include a 48-inch screen spanning the entire width of the car. Photo: Courtesy of Ford.

Modern cars are often described as “computers on wheels”. They come with automated driver assistance systems, larger screens, internet connections, and multiple ways to sync with smartphones.

However, in the race to innovate and outperform in the competition with new technologies, it has gone too far. Some advancements have made driving safer, but others are leaning toward technological advancements that could harm drivers. Current generation cars can be more expensive to repair, harder to understand and drive, and, according to some experts in the field, are more likely to cause distraction and driver disengagement.

The automobile industry seems to be ignoring these problems and making them worse.

This week we learned that Ford is going to change what drivers see when behind the wheel of some of its vehicles. A new display that will span the entire width of the car aims to reshape the way drivers receive information. This will include the speedometer and other vital indicators, navigation and applications like Spotify, streaming video, and even the possibility of connecting controllers to play video games. This system has a 48 inch screen.

You can also play video games on the car screen.  Photo: Courtesy of Ford. You can also play video games on the car screen.  Photo: Courtesy of Ford.

You can also play video games on the car screen. Photo: Courtesy of Ford.

Last week Mercedes had made a similar announcement. During CES in Las Vegas, the brand’s technology director, Markus Schaefer, had a brief meeting with Autocar where he presented some of the technical details that they will be including in their future generation electric vehicles.

“At Mercedes we are still on a path where you can see even more screens in the car,” Schaefer said. “Mercedes will use a continuous screen from left to right. This is the next evolution of our Hyperscreen displays. This will provide a truly impressive experience. This screen is a very essential part for us, at least for the next few years,” said the person in charge. This decision will mean that there will be a lack of buttons in the dashboard of the car.

Mercedes-Benz USA's Vadim Weiss demonstrates the company's new operating system, MBOS 1, during the CES technology show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.  (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)Mercedes-Benz USA's Vadim Weiss demonstrates the company's new operating system, MBOS 1, during the CES technology show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.  (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

Mercedes-Benz USA’s Vadim Weiss demonstrates the company’s new operating system, MBOS 1, during the CES technology show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun) (associated Press)

In addition to the significant wow factor that the vehicle’s HyperScreen provides consumers, a touchscreen in the center console provides a high-tech display that allows the front seat passenger to watch movies. HyperScreen is designed with advanced voice commands and eye tracking technology. If the driver takes his eyes off the road and starts watching a movie, the system will automatically switch it off. As soon as the driver’s attention returns to the road, the movie will activate again. Although no one in their right mind watches a movie while driving, they do look at a bright screen to view a GPS map or check a notification. This is where the real danger lies.

Safety concerns, especially for older drivers

A larger screen appeals to many consumers because of its attractive appearance, the ability to connect to apps and podcasts, and the ability to program the navigation system with a single touch. However, according to a study by the AAA Foundation, in-flight infotainment systems can be too distracting. This is especially true for older drivers, who may not be as comfortable with all the technological advancements as younger consumers.

The study revealed that drivers between the ages of 55 to 75 held their eyes and attention for more than eight seconds compared to drivers aged 21 to 36 when performing simple driving tasks such as changing the radio station or programming the navigation system. Remove from the road. , Considering that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles a driver’s risk of a crash, this is a very worrying statistic.

The AAA Foundation for Highway Safety collaborated with University of Utah researchers to determine the visual and cognitive demands created by six vehicles’ infotainment systems. Study participants were divided into two age groups: drivers aged 21 to 36 and drivers aged 55 to 75. Participants of each age group were asked to perform a series of tasks using a touch screen, including using voice commands, making phone calls, sending text messages, changing the radio station, and programming the system. Navigation, all tasks while driving.

The researchers found that technology creates unsafe distractions for all drivers, but the safety risks were most significant for older drivers. For example, it takes older drivers 4.7 to 8.6 seconds longer than younger drivers to perform tasks such as making a call or programming the navigation system. Additionally, older drivers experienced slower reaction times and more visual distractions.

Although studies show that large touchscreens are particularly distracting for older drivers, design changes can be made to help drivers keep their eyes and attention on the road. According to AAA’s director of highway safety research and advocacy, it’s not an age problem.

This is more of a design question. Improvements such as simplifying software menus, eliminating complex center console controls, and improving voice command technology will make these systems safer for all drivers and meet the specific needs of older drivers. Although it seems that it is much easier to make bigger and bigger screens…

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