Ford's Now Building Smartphones on Wheels

'In-car connectivity' is a plethora of distractions
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2011 1:45 PM CST
Maureen Dowd: Ford's Now Building Smartphones on Wheels
An auto show employee demonstrates Fords new revolutionary MyFord Touch car infotainment technology January 27, 2011.   (Getty Images)

Ford's got a slick new whiz-bang simulator, and Maureen Dowd kicked the tires—and almost ran smack "into a huge green truck," she writes for the New York Times. The problem is Ford's new "in-car connectivity"—a "cornucopia of diversions on your dashboard," Dowd writes, which let you sync apps, check email, tweet, find a restaurant, or change the lighting to alter your mood. "Remember when your car used to be a haven of peace from the world?" she complains. "Now it’s just a bigger, noisier and much more dangerously distracting smartphone."

Dowd's not alone: While Ford claims it's just making America's tech addiction as safe as possible, no less than Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is worried about distracted drivers. “Putting entertainment centers in automobiles does not contribute to safe driving," LaHood says. But don't expect car companies to be beacons of safety, says one National Safety Council official, citing manufacturers' feet-dragging on seat belts and airbags. And the dashboards are trouble for mere humans: “We can chew gum and walk, but we can’t do two cognitively demanding tasks simultaneously," he concludes. (More smartphones stories.)

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