“Apple this week unwrapped a new system that would make it easier to perform tasks while driving with the help of an iPhone and Siri, an important step in the industrywide push to build smarter cars,” Benjamin Pimentel reports for MarketWatch. “But the rise of more technology-enabled automobiles, including those equipped with voice-control systems like Apple’s Siri, is also making some consumer advocates, led by the American Automobile Association, nervous.”

“The federation of motor clubs put out a report in June warning of ‘a plethora of hands-free-in-vehicle communications’ that serve as dangerous distractions,” Pimentel reports. “AAA is in the process of updating that study, and the organization is expected to release a new version this summer, according to Jake Nelson, the association’s director for traffic safety advocacy and research. ‘We are very supportive of the introduction of technologies in the car to enhance convenience for consumers,’ he told MarketWatch. ‘But we are also very concerned about the balance between convenience and safety.'”

“CarPlay, Apple stressed, is meant to let drivers ‘use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction.’ But advocates worry that such claims could give drivers a false sense of safety,” Pimentel reports. “AAA is pushing for more studies and guidelines on the use of smart technologies in cars. ‘There are some tasks that a driver should not be allowed to engage in while the car is driving,’ he said… ‘Drivers should not be allowed to use these technologies to read and respond to emails or interact with social media.’ Nelson said advocates are even looking into issues related to voice-control technologies, such as Siri. He cited questions on whether a ‘synthetic or a computer-generated voice’ may not be as safe as those that sound like a natural human voice.”

Pimentel reports, “AAA’s claims have been criticized by the Consumer Electronics Association, which argued in a June 2013 statement that the organization’s report ‘suffers from a number of methodology flaws, and, as a result, its broad conclusions about voice-to-text technology should be questioned.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Overwrought, FUD-ish “concerns” based on flawed studies aren’t going to stop the arrival of the future.

AAA’s probably most worried about Apple supplying Maps, turn-by-turn directions, simple voice access to roadside assistance, and more in millions upon millions of vehicles without the need for an annual AAA subscription.

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