Does The iBeetle Improve Safety or Pose an Unwarranted Distraction?

Posted on April 22, 2013

It’s important to draw attention to the threat posed by distracted driving.  When your mind is taken away from the road by a text message or a phone call, you’re unable to react to changes in driving conditions as fast as you otherwise would be able to, and the door is thus left open to a potential accident.  But how do you limit distracted driving when the vehicle itself poses a distraction?

Apple and Volkswagen have partnered for a new automobile known as the iBeetle, but it remains to be seen whether this type of vehicle will increase safety or increase distraction.

After all, some of the functions offered by the iBeetle could arguably disable distractions.  By plugging an iPhone into a docking station, a user gains access to all those things already in place on an iPhone.  That includes hands-free calling and texting, navigation instructions, and more.  A tool called Expert allows one to monitor such things as oil and coolant temperatures in the engine, which could also improve safety.

But could certain other functions actually increase distracted driving?  After all, if a person is paying more attention to their iPhone, they are arguably paying less heed to the road, even if the phone is plugged into a dashboard.  Apps like Reader, which reads aloud social media posts to the driver, will necessarily take one’s mind off the road, even if their eyes remain facing forward.

The iBeetle will reportedly roll out next year.  In the meantime, interested persons can catch their first glimpse at this week’s Shanghai Auto Show or by clicking here.

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