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Is Ford’s MyLink the Answer to Distracted Driving?

Car safety continues to be one of the most important subjects among new car buyers and industry leaders. And while many companies are working on their own autonomous car technologies in order to remove the driver error from the picture and make all cars safer, few are actually focusing on the importance of the communication tools developed by Ford and how it could make cars more practical and, perhaps, even safer.

According to several news reports, Ford’s open-source technology known as SmartDeviceLink will soon be part of other vehicles’ in-car systems.

As Toyota and automotive suppliers QNX Software Systems and UIEvolution report they will be adopting the technology in the near future, Ford also reports that  PSA Peugeot Citroën, Honda, Subaru, and Mazda are also considering making use of the technology as well.

But what is SmartDeviceLink and how could it make cars safer?

The idea is simple. With the SmartDeviceLink system, phone apps work through the car’s dashboard or voice commands, making it easier for the driver to stay connected while driving. If a driver wants to stay connected while behind the wheel, he or she must use their phone directly, Handheld devices are often prohibited while the driver is operating a car due to the risks associated with distracted driving. To many car safety experts, the use of the connection feature could make drivers less likely to use their phones while behind the wheel. But to others, the feature won’t make a difference.

Since studies carried out by AAA show that voice command features may increase the risk of distracted driving accidents due to the cognitive distractions, the open-source technology developed by Ford may backfire over time. Especially if companies do not run their own tests before adopting the features.

According to Ford, SmartDeviceLink is beneficial mostly because app developers are able to have one platform as an industry standard, making apps more likely to work effectively through the communication feature present in several vehicle models. In a vehicle with the SmartDeviceLink, apps work through dashboard buttons or voice commands, making tech savvy drivers more likely to purchase vehicles with this feature in place than others.

In vehicles sporting these systems, drivers will be able to enjoy Spotify, iHeartRadio, and many others without having to touch their phones.

While this technology is already used in over five million Ford vehicles, this is the first time that new partners claim to be considering using the feature as well. If more companies embrace the SmartDeviceLink system, it could become an industry standard.

If you’re curious to know how it would work—and how it could make distracted driving more likely—watch the video below or click here.

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