Late last year, the feds recommended states ban use of mobile devices all together for those operating vehicles. But as in-car technology continues to advance, systems that could be perceived as an added distraction for drivers have continued to emerge.
OnStar announced last year it would be demonstrating new technology that would incorporate in-car video streaming and chat. Now, Mercedes-Benz is making friends with Facebook to allow for en route status updates and other functions.
While these two in-car developments may raise eyebrows after the National Highway Transportation Safety Board recommended that both handheld and hands-free mobile device use should be banned for drivers, both systems state that measures would be put in place so as not to distract drivers from the road.
Mercedes' announcement came at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where the company stated Facebook capability would be added to its new in-vehicle telematics system, according to Reuters. Reuters reports that unlike using Facebook on a computer or smartphone, Facebook for Mercedes would be "stripped down to a limited set of features, specially designed for drivers and centered around the locations of friends and businesses."
This would include coupling the social networking site with the car's GPS, according to Facebook Vice President of Partnerships and Platform Marketing Dan Rose. Reuters has more about the system:
"One of the core things that people do on their screens in the car is GPS navigation and the ability to see which of your friends are nearby is something we think will be really interesting for people," [Rose said.]
The Facebook application displays a variety of standard, pre-written postings that a driver can publish on Facebook with quick taps or turns of a knob.
If a particular destination is already entered into the car's navigation system, the driver can automatically publish a Facebook posting stating they are en route to that destination, along with an estimated time of arrival, based on the current traffic patterns.
Gizmodo reports that this technology could also include a list of restaurants, shops, etc., that friends may have liked on Facebook.
According to Reuters, Facebook is one of several apps that Mercedes drivers will be able to use and is expected to be standard in cars with the computer as early as 2013.