Study says drivers don’t want social media in their cars

OnStar AppLinkConsumers use Facebook and Twitter to record every second of their lives, but that doesn’t mean they want social media in their cars. According to the Detroit Free Press, Gartner, a technology consultancy, has data showing that consumers do not want to update their statuses in rush hour traffic, but they do want driving-related apps.

Thilo Koslowski, a connected-vehicle analyst for Gartner, told attendees at the Telematics Detroit 2012 conference that consumers want connectivity, but prefer things that actually help them drive. Real-time weather forecasting and apps that show parking availability were high priorities for the consumers in Gartner’s study, while Facebook and Twitter were among the lowest.

Koslowski said the top three consumer technology “wants” were voice recognition, built-in navigation systems, and automated crash notification systems like General Motors’ OnStar.

If Gartner’s findings really do reflect consumers’ interests, then automakers will have to make some major changes. Several companies are betting that integrating social media into their vehicles will entice tech-happy buyers, and make driving safer by allowing drivers to put down their phones.

Voice command systems that are currently being used to operate navigation systems and other in-car electronics are also becoming personal secretaries. In addition to notifying the authorities in the event of a crash, OnStar also allows drivers to check Facebook. Mercedes-Benz’s new mbrace2 system allows drivers to update their Facebook statuses through voice commands. Other systems, such as Ford’s MyFord Touch, let drivers read and send text messages with voice commands.

Consumers apparently still want some connectivity in their cars: Gartner says 82% are willing to pay for Internet radio or connected safety systems like OnStar, up from just 20% a few years ago. They just seem to want options that make driving easier and safer, instead of things that are not really related to operating a motor vehicle.

Facebook and Twitter help keep people connected, but each person has to drive his or her own car. Having the ability to call for help during an emergency is important but, the rest of the time, it is probably better to focus on the task at hand. Many people think their daily commute is annoying, but perhaps they don’t literally want to be doing something else. Making driving easier by giving drivers more information is one thing, pretending that it’s free time that can be twittered away on Twitter is another.

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Smart Home

OK Google, what else can you do? The best tips and tricks for Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.
Gaming

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.