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Android Auto miles safer than standard car infotainment systems - report

Who knew? Google is better at designing software than car manufacturers.

Published onJune 29, 2018

Android Auto
  • Research has found Android Auto to be less distracting than native infotainment systems.
  • In testing, users were able to perform tasks quicker when using Android Auto.
  • However, Android Auto can still create unsafe distraction levels.

Google’s vehicle infotainment system Android Auto is less distracting to drivers than built-in infotainment systems, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The research found that drivers are able to make calls 24 percent faster and program navigation 31 percent faster on average when using Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay.

The ability to perform tasks quickly is crucial for the safe use of infotainment systems. The AAA says that drivers who take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds are at double the risk of a crash. Distracted driving causes 390,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths every year, according to the AAA.

The results were reached after researchers compared the visual and mental demand placed on drivers by Android Auto and CarPlay to the demands placed on drivers by the in-built infotainment systems of five cars. The report did not state which cars or infotainments systems were used, nor did it provide individual results.

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It did say, however, that there were differences in the way Android Auto and CarPlay worked when displayed on different cars. Some car systems displayed additional menus and there were differences in what features were available while driving.

While positive, the result did say that both Android Auto and CarPlay can still create unsafe levels of distraction and that drivers should not use it to perform complex tasks while driving. During testing, the AAA said it still took up to 33 seconds to program navigation on CarPlay and Android Auto.

Android Auto launched in 2015 as a way of mirroring an Android smartphone to compatible infotainment systems. Recently, an Android Auto update brought features such as wireless connectivity, group messaging, and Google Assistant to the service.

Next up: Android Auto: everything you need to know

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