Passenger Only Apps & Infotainment Coming to Avoid Distraction

HarmonmercedesMany in-dash head units disable certain functions while the car is in motion such as playing DVDs in dash.  There are alternatives to insure driver safety but allows the passenger to do more difficult tasks.Harman International makes an in-dash split-view screen with fewer apps on the driver’s side and a more involved menu on the right. The driver can’t see the apps the passenger is using. The passenger can surf the web, check Facebook or maps.  The spilt-view screen is in the 2014 Mercdes Benz S Class (NTG5 infotainment unit).  The Driveshow feature lets the passengers  follow the route on their screens that highlight points of interest along the way.

Osram GmbH makes a sensor for a head unit that detects if the driver or the passenger is operating the controls of the infotainment system. Sensors only let the passenger let the passenger check for Facebook updates, restaurant listings or text messages.

Another option is from Panasconic that connects to smartphone.  The passenger can search or use apps on the phone and then data is sent to car’s navigation system to dispaly directions on the screen.

Panasonic and Osram GmbH did not reveal to Automotive News what auto makers will be deploying the new products.

Department of Transportation guidelines restrict certain functions of  infotainment systems in cars. NHSTA guidelines include:

  • Limit the time a driver must take his eyes off the road to perform any task to two seconds at a time and twelve seconds total.
  •  Disabled manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and internet browsing.
  • Disabled video-based entertainment and communications like video phoning or video conferencing.
  •  No display of certain types of text, including text messages, web pages, social media content.

Another problem with head infotainment units is that it is not clear who owns the data.  There is a new bill that will provide rights for the data owners.