AAA study finds automaker infotainment more distracting than Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

July 2, 2018

If you find the infotainment system in your new car to be a bit of a distraction more often than it is useful, you’re not alone.

As Automotive News reported, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah, smartphone-projection technologies like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—now offered on many new cars, trucks, and SUVs—were found to be far less demanding than built-in infotainment systems, both visually and in terms of the user experience. More than 390,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths per year result from distracted driving, a large portion of which have to do with smartphone usage and infotainment systems.

Interestingly, CarPlay and Android Auto were found to be 5 seconds faster on average than OEM systems when making a call, and 15 seconds faster at entering a destination into the navigation system.

The study examined infotainment systems in the Kia Optima, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, Honda Ridgeline, and Ford Mustang, and found that the Kia, Chevy, and Ram were moderately demanding while the Honda and Ford required very high demand. In our own experience, Mazda and Lexus seemed to have the most infuriating infotainment systems to operate, but these were not tested in the study.

As we’ve examined before, most infotainment systems fall short simply because they’re unintuitive, unlike the smartphones we use on a much more frequent basis. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the smartphone-based systems now available seem so much less distracting.

Whichever system you choose, always keep your eyes on the road at all times. And automakers: keep giving us real buttons and knobs, and put CarPlay and Android Auto in your vehicles for crying out loud.

—By Brian Leon, For Internet Brands Automotive

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