Study says voice-based technology safest for navigation

  • 18-Apr-2011 03:18 EDT

One of General Motors' efforts to increase use of voice technology is the MyLink system, a smart interface design allowing drivers to use mobile communications while their cell phones remain safely stowed.

A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) study commissioned by OnStar has found that voice-based telematics systems are safer for in-vehicle navigation compared to systems that rely solely on visual aids. The study evaluated a cell-phone-based navigation application, a personal navigation device (PND), OnStar Turn-by-Turn directions, and OnStar Destination Download, as well as printed driving directions. Researchers found that voiced-based OnStar Turn-by-Turn directions allowed drivers to keep their eyes on the road longer, required the shortest amount of time to enter a destination, and resulted in better overall vehicle handling. The study evaluated 24 participants, aged 25 to 55, as they used the five different navigation options while driving. Inside the vehicle, audio and video footage of the drivers was captured, as well as the vehicle's key performance data. According to OnStar, its two systems required significantly less mental effort than the others. The study also showed that drivers value visual information in addition to voice control. Asked about their navigation preference, the largest percentage of participants chose Destination Download as "Liked the Most."

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