Technology advancement

Tom Blackie, CEO of VNC Automotive, says advances in technology are becoming a risk to drivers’ attention.

According to research[1]it is thought that about half of all crashes resulting in death and serious injury were caused by driver preoccupation and inattention.

With more technology integrated into automobiles than ever before, connectivity expert VNC Automotive thinks it’s time to acknowledge that the interior of today’s cars is likely to be just as inconvenient as the world outside.

Tom Blackie, CEO of VNC Automotive, says there has never been so much competition for drivers’ attention.

“Traffic is heavier than ever. Vehicle interiors are dominated by touchscreens and our lives are increasingly connected.

This indicates that there are now many more options for a driver to shift their attention elsewhere.

Moreover, modern cars are equipped with systems eager to send out a cacophony of alarms and warnings, chiding us for crossing a white line without signaling, or urging us to stop when we are miles from the station. – nearest service.

“They became the perfect driver for the backseat…

conduct in order to issue criticism, but without providing enough information to be useful.

VNC Automotive CEO Tom Blackie

How we got here is clear in retrospect.

The potential of purely passive safety functions such as airbags and crumple zones has already been achieved[2]and no further progress is expected in the future.

Additionally, occupant safety and aesthetic concerns have taken precedence over visibility.

This results in taller shoulder lines, substantial pillars and smaller window openings, which reduce the driver’s field of vision.

In order to compensate for this, the industry has adopted active technologies that rely on externally connected cameras, radars and other sensors.

It seems that they are given more driving responsibility with each new generation of vehicle.

The problem of driver attention is not solved by manufacturers.

This method has become so established that testing organizations like Euro NCAP now require it to be installed before awarding full stars, even going so far as to withhold points if a necessary feature is not installed normally.

Evidence[3] suggests that newer cars are now more likely to be involved in collisions.

This is especially true at intersections and when joining traffic, situations where being distracted can be deadly.

Further research is needed on the effects of many brief glances, typical when using a touchscreen, for example, even though the risks of prolonged glances away from the road, such as when using a mobile phone, are well recognized.

Since our technology has been installed in 35 million vehicles worldwide, we’ve learned that there’s a small but important difference between an interface that offers an elegant window into the digital world and one that buries essential functionality in the center. of a maze.

We design our user interfaces to minimize the requirement for confirmation of looks away from the road as we believe in technology that facilitates interactions without getting in the way.

It may now be appropriate to recognize the seriousness of this issue and ask our safety organizations to provide formal assessments of in-vehicle distraction, Blackie says.

New developments are imminent.

Maybe Euro NCAP is already on the scene. To be eligible for a perfect score in the Occupant Status Monitoring (OSM) category from 2023, cars must be equipped with direct driver monitoring[4].

If a driver’s concentration strays too far from the driving task, the system will issue warningsb.

This makes it more likely that a motorist could receive a warning to, for example, use a touchscreen menu to change the thermostat.

However, it could be a nasty problem that every automaker will surely be keen to rectify.

However, it also opens up the prospect of modifying a car’s systems in reaction to the driver’s level of concentration at the moment.

If a driver is perceived to be significantly more alert, ADAS systems like forward collision warning can alter their sensitivity to provide less invasive input.

Conversely, if a driver’s attention is elsewhere, they can adjust their sensitivity to issue warnings sooner.

The in-vehicle displays can even be reconfigured to better suit the current scenario, for example simplifying the display on a congested highway.

Meanwhile, the industry continues to envision a time when the options for drivers to divert their attention from the road would be justified by increasing vehicle autonomy.

Understanding both physical and cognitive distraction will only become more crucial, says Blackie, “if we want drivers to be able to regain control if an assist feature isn’t working as intended.”

Project delivery has been optimized and packaged to provide turnkey integration, minimizing time to market while allowing the customer to fully customize branding and user experience. Its industry-accredited software is known for its high quality and cutting-edge performance.


Report 1: Overview and Analysis of Accident Types, Injury Outcomes and Contributing Factors, Enhanced Accident Investigation Study (ECIS), Fitzharris, M., Monash University Accident Research Center


Deliverable D3 of the eIMPACT consortium provides a methodological framework and a database for the socio-economic evaluation of intelligent vehicle safety systems.


Field of View of Contemporary Vehicles: A Survey to Improve Vehicle Geometry Assessment Based on Real Accident Situations Recorded in ADAC Accident Research, Pschenitza, M., et al.


Safety Assistance Assessment Protocol for Safe Driving, Euro NCAP

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