Voice Control Systems May Increase Driver Distraction, Research Finds | Edmunds

Voice Control Systems May Increase Driver Distraction, Research Finds


Just the Facts:
  • In-car voice control systems, such as Apple's Siri electronic assistant, may actually increase driver distraction, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
  • The systems, which are intended as safety features, "may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction," researchers found.
  • Toyota's Entune system garnered the lowest cognitive distraction ranking, while Chevrolet MyLink was the worst.

WASHINGTON In-car voice control systems, such as Apple's Siri electronic assistant, may actually increase driver distraction, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The systems, which are intended as safety features, "may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction," researchers found.

Toyota's Entune system garnered the lowest cognitive distraction ranking, while Chevrolet MyLink was the worst.

Researchers said Entune scored a 1.7 on a five-point cognitive workload scale, "which is similar to listening to an audio book." They said Chevrolet MyLink "resulted in a high level of cognitive distraction," with a rating of 3.7 out of five.

Other systems that fell in between those two included the Hyundai Blue Link, with a rating of 2.2 out of five and Chrysler Uconnect, with a rating of 2.7.

Ford Sync with MyFord Touch was rated at 3.0 and the Mercedes Comand system earned a 3.1 rating.

"It is clear that not all voice systems are created equal and today's imperfect systems can lead to driver distraction," said Bob Darbelnet, AAA CEO, in a statement.

The study also assessed Apple's Siri (version iOS 7), a system that was adopted by General Motors and offered in the Chevrolet Spark and Sonic starting in February 2013.

"The research uncovered that hands- and eyes-free use of Apple's Siri generated a relatively high category 4 level of mental distraction," AAA said.

In comparison, listening to the radio is ranked as a category 1 distraction.

Automakers can improve the safety of these products by making them less complicated, more accurate and easier to use, researcher said.

Edmunds says: Hands on the wheel and eyes on the road is still the best bet for drivers while automakers work to perfect these systems.

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT