Consider the world today: Smartphone manufacturers have already introduced vehicle infotainment systems in automobiles. Vehicle safety technology may be next.
A recent safety proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) raises intriguing questions about how our smartphones and automobiles may interface. The proposal may encourage smartphone manufacturers to add vehicle safety technology to their infotainment system applications. That may start to blur the lines between your vehicle and your smartphone.
At the end of November 2016, NHTSA issued a safety proposal that targeted smartphone manufacturers. The proposal suggests that all smartphone manufacturers develop vehicle pairing and “Driver Mode” software. To “pair” a smartphone with a vehicle, a driver would connect the smartphone to a vehicle infotainment system. Its functionality would then be limited to a simplified interface. Pairing a phone and an infotainment system would “lock out” certain distracting smartphone features, like manual text entry, web surfing, social media, and video not related to driving.
Driver Mode would go one step further: It would automatically activate when it senses its user is driving and has not paired his/her smartphone. Drivers will still have access to navigation applications in both pairing and Driver Mode.
NHTSA’s proposal is a guideline, and NHTSA was clear that the guideline will not lead to a binding rule at this time. More than 1,800 people have commented on the proposal, including automobile manufacturers, industry associations, and smartphone manufacturers.