Chevrolet’s MyLink Hands Free System Proves To Be Most Distracting In AAA Study4
The voice recognition software in many automaker’s new vehicles, designed to keep drivers hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, may still dangerously divert attention away from driving, according to a new study from AAA.
Hands-free technology is designed to allow drivers to sends texts and other messages in addition to controlling their cars infotainment system by using their voice, rather than their hands. AAA’s study found single-task commands in the car, such as pushing a button to change the radio station, required the least workload from drivers. On the other end of the spectrum, Siri-based voice recognition systems, such as that found in Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, proved to be the most distracting to use.
AAA researchers say driver workload ratings were at the highest when using Siri and that two of the three simulator crashes they experienced during the study were caused by drivers attempting to use the voice-recognition system. Flaws in Siri’s system contributed to the distractions, with the program sometimes producing different responses for identical voice commands.
“Siri required exact phrases to accomplish specific tasks and subtle deviations from that phrasing would result in a failure,” AAA said. “Some participants also reported frustration with Siri’s occasional sarcasm and wit.”
Researchers also rated the six most popular infotainment systems from automakers to see which one had the voice recognition software most effective at reducing distracted driving. Toyota’s Entune system came out on top, while Chevy’s MyLink system performed the poorest. AAA said MyLink imposed more of a mental burden on drivers than any other system, with some study participants simply giving up on it.
“We believe that this high level of workload was elicited by system errors and prolonged duration of the task,”AAA said. “In many circumstances, participants were unable to complete the music functions task at all during the drive. For many of the drivers, the first reaction was to simply give up trying.”
General Motors did not return Autoblog’s call when they requested a comment on MyLinks poor showing in the study. It doesn’t matter which system was the worst really, because the point to pull away here is that while hands-free systems may be legal, they do not reduce the amount of distracted drivers on the road. AAA says automakers will need to pay more attention to hands-free driving systems and consumers will need to exercise more caution when using the technology going forward.
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I dunno, in terms of ease of use, I find MyLink to be very easy. For me, the voice control works very well. If I want Brad Paisley’s music, I say, “Play Artist Brad Paisley”. If I want the his song “Start a Band” to play, I say, “Play Song Start A Band”. As long as you know the name of the artist or your playlist, you should be good. Its kind of hard to mess that up. Even the Pandora voice controls work, thought I wish there was a command for thumbs up/down.
Actually, the only time I find MyLink to be distracting to my driving is when I have to unlock my phone to launch Stitcher or Pandora.
I dunno, I’d like to see how they did there testing rather than take them at their word. It boggles the mind how saying the command to play Brad Paisley on one system is more distracting than saying a similar command on another system “Play Artist Brad Paisley” vs “Play Brad Paisley”, doesn’t seem like the addition of the word “artist” would be all that more difficult.lol
The single greatest mistake automakers ever made was to install internet and cellular links into their vehicles. People should have never been allowed to use any such technology while driving. I’ve had one encounter where my car was hit by a very young driver who was heavily involved in texting her friends while driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of Pico Blvd. in West Los Angeles. Even after the collision, which fortunately was not all that serious, the young lady refused to stop texting her friend until I forcefully knocked her cell phone from her hands and made her engage me in conversation. An even then she would not admit that she was driving on the round side of the road. Of course she wasn’t, she was too busy texting her friends to be aware of such. After all was said and done with, the girl lost her license for six months, as this was not the fist time she drove so dangerously. These types of situations are now quite common. I intend on purchasing a 2015 Z06 Corvette, and the last thing I would ever do would be to engage of electronic communication while driving anywhere and at any time.
Well said Dr Taff, I couldn’t agree more with your opening statements.
I don’t believe it’s too late for the federal government to step in and knock back and then halt the further implementation all but the most basic interactive systems. Internet connectivity and any other form of mobile connectivity requiring all but the most basic active driver participation should be banned outright. Even established products such as GM’s OnStar can be problematic, confusing and distracting when in active mode requiring driver verbal interaction.
As Draconian as these proposals may sound to some people, I am firmly convinced it would enhance public safety and be welcome news to many automotive manufacturers who would rather invest their R&D money in systems, designs and components that provide enhanced safety, reliability and an improved and more efficient driving experience for the vehicle owner and operator.
Barry Taff, Ph.D. wrote:
“The single greatest mistake automakers ever made was to install internet and cellular links into their vehicles. People should have never been allowed to use any such technology while driving.”
I love everything about the newer Chevrolet Tahoes, except for the infotainment systems. I will probably need to replace my current 2002 Tahoe in the next 5 years, but the current infotainment systems are enough for me to consider a competitor that has more physical buttons and knobs. The Ford Expedition seems to have the radio buttons right, for example. Surely GM could do something equivalent.