Sunday 19 October 2014

The dangers of voice controls


Voice-activated systems are getting more attention as states are increasingly banning the use of 'Handheld devices by drivers'. However new research from the AAA finds that these voice-activated system can still be quite dangerous. The national distracted driving experts Paul Atchley, of the University of Kansas and David Strayer, of the University of Utah - and the lead researcher on the AAA study - they explain why the regulations  of the voice-activated systems aren't making out roads any safer.

where do people think politicians are getting it wrong?

Paul Atchley: "The biggest myth is that as long as our eyes are open and looking at the road, we are safe.

It's not about eyes, it's all about seeing and that is required by the brain. A person only need to read a few crash reports where drivers say, " I was looking but never saw the car/pedestrian/cyclist" to know the disastrous consequences of believing that looking and seeing are one in the same.

When someone talks, their brain must take different resources from other tasks like seeing. Just think about what someone sounds like when they talk on the phone and drive ("Ummm... Uhhh" and short, clipped responses). They are literally hearing the brain trying to take resources away from the conversation so it can see the road.

 So, a return to the old days when drivers could not socialize with the people actually present in someones car. What's the next study area in which distraction researchers will be focusing?

Paul Atchley: "To me the most interesting question is why a handful of studies that use the 'Naturalistic' method, using cameras in cars driven by a volunteer drivers claim talking on a phone makes someone a lot safer driver. This contrasts with over 400 studies over the last forty years using a variety of other methods, such as simulators, behavioral techniques, and observational/on road studies, along with neuroscience studies, all what is found is that talking poses an increased risk.

therefore the question is critical because the industry has pointed to the data just from this one method to support an explosion of distraction in cars.

The navigation systems are a safety improvement over reading a physical map, for example. However the ability to make a dinner reservation, buy a movie ticket, or engage with social media is unrelated to the task of safety operating a vehicle. If voice control is an option for a driving-related task, and its of limited complexity, then i would use it. However if its a complex or allowed a driver to do non-driving related tasks, then i would not use it or want my family to do so.

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