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Government Transportation

NHTSA Suggestion Would Cripple In-Car GPS Displays 516

Posted by timothy
from the this-must-just-be-a-bad-dream dept.
bricko writes "The recently issued National Highway Transportation Safety Agency guidelines for automakers to minimize distraction for in-vehicle electronics included a proposal to freeze maps on navigation systems. No more scrolling maps...just static pictures. 'Every current installed navigation system uses the car as a fixed point, and shows the map moving around it. NHTSA wants that changed so as to keep the map fixed. Even showing the position of the car moving on the map could be considered a dynamic image. The recommendation seems to suggest that the position of the car could only be updated every couple of seconds. Likewise, the map could be refreshed once the car has left the currently displayed area. This recommendation would essentially make navigation unusable. The system could still give an auditory warning for the next turn, but without being able to glance down at the map and see how close the next street is would likely lead to a lot of missed turns and resultant frustration.'"
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NHTSA Suggestion Would Cripple In-Car GPS Displays

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  • by confuscan (2541066) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @09:00AM (#39465491)
    Cell phone use is being banned in cars because studies showed that you effectively drive "drunk" when you're talking on the phone. Science wins on that one. What's the equivalent evidence for GPS systems? I haven't heard of anything. In fact, GPS systems appear to have been designed to minimize such distractions, allow easy and quick referencing and along with voice instructions, allow relatively safe navigation. I think science wins on this one as well. Scrap the regulation.
  • Re:Also, (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lt.Hawkins (17467) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @09:13AM (#39465601) Homepage

    So totally off topic, but prompted by your last sentence: I'm currently renting a car, a Toyota Yaris, I think. They moved the WHOLE DASH to the CENTER.

    This: http://www.carid.com/dash-kit-gallery/images/dash-kits/Toyota_Yaris_2006-UP_2427BE_A04.jpg [carid.com]

    Oh my god, It is the worst ever. I feel like I'm a danger on the road every time I try to check my speed. Who in their right minds thought this was a good idea?

  • by enjar (249223) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @09:17AM (#39465623) Homepage

    Maps are only useful when the municipality you live in has marked the roads properly. Here in Massachusetts they mark cross-streets only, not the road you are on. And even then the signs are in non-uniform places, have different colors (some black on white, others white on green, still others white on brown, some have a mix), different sizes and sometimes they are not there at all. And they also compete with the billion other signs out there. There is no interest in upgrading, standardization or other things to make it better. The roads are not arrayed in any sort of logical grid, either. In certain cities like Boston, there are a collection of one way streets that can make getting back on track really confusing. Not to mention aggressive drivers, pedestrians with a death wish, etc.

    GPS has been the most revolutionary technology to allow me to get somewhere the first time. Previously when I'd have to go somewhere new, I'd get out my map, use mapquest, try to get directions first. Then I'd try and follow those directions. Sometimes they worked, other times not. I'd then call the place I was trying to go, and the first thing they asked -- what street are you on? You can't tell! You'd be reduced to trying other landmarks (I'm near a Dunkin Donuts next to a Catholic Church with a bar across the street), dead reckoning, the position of the sun (if you can see it), watching birds fly, etc.

    So, yes, I am quite well versed in how to use a map. I can read and use road maps, topo maps, directions written out on a napkin. The GPS fills in all the gaps nicely to let me get where I'm going when something goes wrong, which can happen due to any number of circumstances beyond my control. It also talks to me so I can prepare for turns and don't need to take my eyes off the driving. It's a wonderful technology and I'd hate to see it crippled my some lame-brained administrator.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @10:32AM (#39466011)

    North is essential if you are lost in the woods and have no idea as to your location, but do know your direction.

    But in a moving car, we turn steering wheels "left" or "right", not "North" or "South." Re-orienting the map to the current direction of travel makes perfect sense, especially if you are looking at the display quickly, and it's not immediately clear which way the car is pointed. (At least, not without looking at the symbol for your current location closely.)

    With the map always being oriented to the direction of travel, I can see out of the corner of my eye how far it is to the next turn, and which direction the turn will be in. If the map stays oriented North, and I'm right on top of a turn from, say, East to South, I can't tell if I need to make a turn at all, or if I'm supposed to go straight; at least, not without examining the direction pointer closely.

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