Visual and Cognitive Demands of Using Apple’s CarPlay, Google’s Android Auto and Five Different OEM Infotainment Systems

Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., McCarty, M. M., Getty, D. J., Wheatley, C. L., Motzkus, C. J., Mackenzie, K. L., Loveless, S. M., Esplin, J., Goethe, R. M., and Biondi, F.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

This on-road study measured cognitive demand, visual/manual demand, a subjective workload measure and a measure of the time to complete different tasks using In-Vehicle Information Systems (IVIS). IVIS involve complex and multimodal interaction to perform a task, and may distract motorists from the primary task of driving by diverting their eyes, hands, or mind. To combat distraction, both Apple’s CarPlay® and Google’s Android Auto® are IVIS platforms on the iPhone and Android smartphones, which allow the driver to pair their phone with the vehicle to perform many of the same tasks offered by the vehicle’s system.

Participants (N=64), had to have a clean driving record in order to participate in the study. They were required to drive five vehicles (two equipped with CarPlay, two equipped with Android Auto, and one with the vehicle’s operating system) while completing a variety of tasks such as sending a text message, making a call, and entering a destination into the navigation system. With a researcher present in the passenger seat, participants drove on a straight residential street with a speed limit of 25mph. The driving route was approximately two miles long with an average drive time of six minutes.

Results showed that both CarPlay and AndroidAuto were significantly less demanding for drivers than the system offered by the vehicle for the tasks conducted in this study, but overall there were still distractions. Both systems have strengths and weaknesses in regard to level of distraction. For example, when sending text messages, CarPlay had a lower overall demand than Android Auto, whereas Android Auto had a lower overall demand than CarPlay for destination entry for navigation.

Reference
Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., McCarty, M. M., Getty, D. J., Wheatley, C. L., Motzkus, C. J., Mackenzie, K. L., Loveless, S. M., Esplin, J., Goethe, R. M., and Biondi, F. (2018). Visual and Cognitive Demands of Using Apple’s CarPlay, Google’s Android Auto and Five Different OEM Infotainment Systems. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1-92.