Automotive Electronics: Safety Enhancements or Deterrents?

wi_fi_direct2a

NBC News - March 5, 2013

With distracted driving labeled a No. 1 contributor to driving deaths, why are federal regulators working with the auto industry to put even more electronics in vehicles?

Find out what’s on tap for connected cars of the future.

According to new data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, there was a 19% increase in the number of fatalities among young teen drivers during the first half of 2012, and distracted driving is catching much of the blame.

So, why are federal regulators working with the auto industry to put even more electronics in the cars, trucks and crossovers you’ll likely buy in the years ahead?

During a mobile communications conference in Spain earlier this week, General Motors announced plans to equip “most” of the vehicles it sells in the U.S. with 4G broadband capabilities starting with the 2014 model-year.

Among other things, passengers will be able to tap into an onboard WiFi hot spot that can handle up to eight different cellphones, table and laptop computers and other devices.

There are the obvious opportunities to enhance onboard infotainment systems, letting passengers stream music or movies, for example. But there are additional safety and security services that can take GM’s groundbreaking OnStar service to another level, the maker promised. Launched in 1995, it already allows a motorist to open the vehicle’s doors if the keys are locked inside. And the system can automatically call for help if the vehicle is involved in a serious accident.

Tags: