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Connected Vehicles & Driver Distraction: Can Safety and Connectivity Co-exist?

Guest post by Steven P. Silver, Senior Principal - Digital Transformation, Consulting & Systems Integration/ Management Consulting Services, Manufacturing unit, Infosys Limited.,



Maybe I'm just paying close attention, but every day seems to bring a new article, study or development in the connected vehicle space. Inevitably, the blurb I keep seeing is either about consumers and their voracious appetites for connected vehicle services and capabilities, OEMs efforts to launch the latest and greatest new connected offerings, or grave concerns from the driver-distraction camp (e.g., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA]) who are concerned about the impact all this new technology is having on driver and road safety.


The convergence of these trends seems to indicate that consumers are unflinching in their hunger for increasingly sophisticated connected services that are delivered in a manner that supports safe driving.  For example, in a recent JD Power 2012 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study, about 69% of study participants said they want natural language voice activation functionality and 68% want wireless connectivity.


But can consumers, OEMs and NHTSA have it all?  The answer is likely found at the intersection of best practices in user experience design and sophisticated avionics.


Companies like Google and Amazon spend tens of thousands of man-hours sweating every detail of the smallest elements of their user experiences (e.g., buttons, boxes, colors, terminology) to ensure that the behaviors they desire users take (e.g., inputs, clicks and views) are done quickly, efficiently and painlessly with increasing effectiveness.  Aerospace companies through both commercial and military applications have commercialized innovative aircraft controls to aviators through new advanced heads-up displays which allow for amazing delivery of information and animation while enabling stringent pilot agility and safety requirements. 


The innovations in the cockpit and in digital commerce provide a true illustration of the "science of the possible" at the intersection of transportation, product engineering, and user experience and information delivery.  So if commercial and military pilots can access sophisticated information services, and consumers can be trained to act upon online cues in milliseconds ... car companies with the right skills can certainly keep consumers and regulators happy.


So how soon do you see the science of the cockpit and the commerce site coming together to make all the players in the telematics ecosystem happy?



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