Distractions


Growing up, our entertainment in the car was limited. My mother didn’t like the radio on so we drove in quiet. In the back seat, my brother and I always had books to read or puzzles for those long trips. Mom always had a novel on the go and Dad just drove.

Every now and again to break things up, we’d play the game that I’m sure that everyone plays – start with the word CAT and the next player had to find something that started with T like TRUCK then K, etc. etc. until it got boring. I always hoped to find a Lynx at the side of the road.

It was only on trips with just my dad or when I got my own vehicle that radio was an option. I didn’t need the entire bandwidth – we just put it on CKLW, the Big 8 and sang along. That was probably our biggest distraction. My friend had an 8 track player and that sort of upped the ante a bit as he would fumble around looking for the next tape. I never had one of those but ultimately had vehicles with cassettes or CD-players. When I moved away from the CKLW signal, thankfully car radios had a scan feature so that you could skip through channels to find something worthwhile listening to.

These days, the distraction level has been raised. The dash on my car has a map to let me see where I am or to route me to where I’m going. My phone is connected so I can make a call with a button press and then it understand (mostly) voice instructions. Ditto for my wife’s vehicle only the map feature is a portable Garmin until that fits into a holder that’s stuck to the windshield. Regardless, all of these are easily visible from either drive or passenger seat at a glance. The design is actually pretty slick in that a single glance can tell you everything that you need.

Our local Chrysler dealer does some locally produced commercials and a newish one features his grandkids and wearing headsets so that they can watch video in the back seats while travelling. How time and technology flies!

Lately, there’s been a Tesla in town and, if it’s parked where I happen to be, I’ll take a peek in and the big screen has always intrigued me. Apparently, there are all kinds of things that you can do with it. As I look through that article, I can’t get over the functionality built into it but also how much more interaction with the user that it will require. And, distraction? Wow. I’m sure that the official stance is that some of the features are available only when you’re standing still or operated by the passenger.

Now, it’s Volvo’s turn and the CES 2022 (Consumer Electronics Show) released that YouTube will be a feature there.

CES 2022: YouTube heads to Volvo cars with baked-in safety nets

That had me stopped and thinking for a bit. For live streaming, your vehicle will need to have internet access but I guess that’s a given if you can pay for a vehicle in this price range. And, as much as I enjoy watching YouTube videos, I’m always fiddling about on my computer or phone to find the next thing of interest. I can’t imagine the frustration of trying to do that when flying down the 401 observing the speed limit and traffic. I’d hate to be featured on a Heavy Rescue 401 show. I guess the ultimate irony would be to watch yourself on a future show. The original plan is that you can’t watch videos while moving…

The feature comes with explicit guidelines for when drivers or passengers will be able to watch YouTube in the car. The answer is: at no point when the car is moving. Instead, videos will be available for playback when the car is stationary. Volvo framed it as a bonus for owners of its electric cars who can watch videos while using a public charging station, for example. 

I can’t see that as anything but being a challenge to hackers. Maybe they’d share the hack on YouTube?

We’ve come a long way from the days of spotting things by the side of the road. Of course, all of these features are already available today in your vehicle if you have a smart phone. Drop in to The Source and buy one of those stands meant for GPS devices and slap your phone in there. Not everyone has bought into the handsfree features; it’s amazing to me to see people driving down the road with their phone pressed to their ear.

As a society, we’ve allowed technology into so many aspects of our life, seemingly without huge questions. All of this success is premised on the assumption that people will be smart about its use. We see now that this isn’t so and I can’t see throwing more opportunities at people will do anything but make it worse.

OTR Links 01/11/2022


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.