Voice systems can reduce some types of driver distraction

Voice systems can reduce some types of driver distraction

In-car voice systems help drivers keep their eyes on the road when compared with manual interfaces, but they donêt eliminate visual distraction altogether, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and MITês AgeLab shows. When researchers compared embedded voice systems in the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox (MyLink) and the Volvo XC60 (Sensus) and the voice interface of a smartphone, they found big differences in visual demand, time involved and accuracy.

Drivers were given a series of tasks to do while driving, while told to give priority to safe driving. All three of the voice interfaces reduced, but did not eliminate, eyes-off-the-road time compared with manual calling. Drivers entering an address looked away from the road for much longer with the Sensus than with the other two systems. But drivers using MyLink had a much higher error rate.

In self-reports, the drivers rated the voice interfaces as less demanding than manual ones, but the voice interfaces still led to modest changes in driving performance and increases in stress compared with periods when drivers were just driving.

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