People Aren't Totally Crazy, Don't Want Social Media in Cars
While concerns about the decline of civilization are probably still warranted, at least there’s one less thing to worry about: U.S. consumers aren’t terribly interested in the idea of accessing social media when they’re driving, according to new data presented by Gartner at the Telematics Detroit 2012 conference in Novi, MI.
Gartner’s survey of consumer sentiment, reported by the Detroit Free Press, shows that consumers give higher priority to “specific applications that make sense when they’re driving,” according to Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski, including features like weather forecasting, traffic conditions, and parking availability, along with features such as voice recognition and automated crash notification systems. Gartner found that 82% of U.S. consumers would be willing to pay extra for such features, up from 20% just a few years ago.
By contrast, access to Facebook and Twitter ranked at the very bottom of consumers’ wish lists for automobiles. The Detroit Free Press quoted Koslowski: “This is again reminding you that you have to be careful not to confuse the car with your mobile phone or your laptop.”
Of course, some carmakers are going to go ahead and put social media in the car anyway, just in case. Thus Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new voice-only onboard system called mbrace2, which “allows the user to efficiently and safely post to her Facebook wall,” according to Mercedes-Benz USA department manager for advanced product planning Sascha Simon.
While posting to Facebook while you’re driving still strikes me as moderately crazy, voice-activated systems are certainly safer than manual texting. This week U.S. Secretary of Transportation Roy LaHood announced an expanded initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. LaHood pointed to statistics showing that roughly one out of ten traffic fatalities is caused by distracted driving due to people using mobile devices behind the wheel.