The case for in-car connectivity making you a safer driver
There has been an abundance of excitement surrounding Volkswagen’s decision to combine the Alexa Voice Service with Car-Net functions ever since the German brand revealed the news in January.
This is not just because the development should help cars to move further into the 21st century, but the new technology could enable drivers to become safer behind the wheel. In this guide, VW dealership Vindis explains why:
An introduction to Volkswagen Car-Net
Volkswagen Car-Net is associated with all in-car internet connectivity found in VW vehicles. So, whether it is hi-tech maps to help you get from A to B, music streaming to make every journey a lot more entertaining, it is all covered within Car-Net.
Guide & Inform and Security & Service are the two main elements of the system…
What is Guide & Inform?
Why should you be disconnected from the rest of the world just because you’re behind the wheel? The Guide & Inform services of Volkswagen Car-Net works to keep you better informed with the stuff that matters to you whenever you’re driving. Compatible with the German manufacturer’s Discover Navigation infotainment system, features include…
- News — You select the news feeds that interest you and then the latest stories are imported from the customer portal to your Volkswagen as the headlines break.
- Weather — You can receive the latest weather conditions for both your current location and the destination you have in mind (with expected time of arrival also considered). No more needing to listen to what the weather is like on the other side of the country!
- Online traffic information — Just like with the weather, you can keep informed about the current traffic situation, both on the road you’re on and others you’re likely to venture onto.
- Fuel information — It can be worrying seeing the low fuel light flick on when you’re not familiar with an area. Fortunately, the ‘Fuel Info’ search function will let you know of all nearby filling stations, when they are open and how much the fuel prices are.
- Parking information — Wave goodbye to driving around a city looking for what feels like the last available parking spot by using the ‘Parking Info’ feature. It will inform you of all free parking spaces in your vicinity, as well as opening times and prices.
What is Security & Service?
Thanks to the following features, the Security & Service element of Volkswagen Car-Net aims to give you peace of mind whenever you’re driving…
- Emergency Call Service — You don’t want to think about a serious incident but with Emergency Call Service, at least rest assured that your vehicle will automatically call for help in a situation where the driver may be unable to.
- Breakdown Call — One press of a button and Volkswagen will make a call for breakdown assistance to the Volkswagen Roadside Assistance service. No need to know where you are, have a phone reception or even memorise a phone number!
- Vehicle Health Report — This presents you with any existing warning messages or service events before you begin driving, avoiding unwanted surprises during a journey.
How Volkswagen Car-Net is combining with Alexa Voice Service
Picture this scenario; one that you’re likely to have encountered if you’re a business person. Part way through a journey alone, you suddenly remember something that you need to do once you reach your destination. Obviously, writing when driving is dangerous, and there is nowhere for you to stop to jot down a reminder – and no-one there to write down your task. You decide that the best course of action is to keep the errand in your mind until you stop driving. However, a few distractions are encountered throughout the remainder of your drive and by the time you’ve parked up, you’ve completely forgotten what the task was.
Volkswagen Car-Net mixed with Alexa Voice Service should allow you to wave goodbye to this type of scenario, as it allows you to use your voice to quickly and easily set appointments and schedule errands.
You don’t even need to be behind the wheel to use this service either. For example, you can program a voice command such as “Alexa, ask Volkswagen the way to the nearest flower shop” when you’re at home and then hear the message come through when you’re next behind the wheel.
So how can it make me a safer driver?
The harsher penalties for using handheld mobile phones while driving in the UK makes advancements to in-car connectivity welcome.
These penalties were introduced by the Government on March 1st 2017 and means that getting caught now results in six points on your driving licence and a £200 fine. You are at risk of getting caught any time you pick up a mobile phone and operate it while driving (that includes waiting in traffic or at traffic lights).
A lot of drivers don’t appear to be abiding to these new road laws. For instance, a survey of over 1,000 motorists carried out by price comparison site MyCarNeedsA.com revealed that 20 per cent admitted to making calls when driving, six per cent checked social media and two per cent texted.
As reported by FleetNews, when in traffic these figures rise to 66 per cent of drivers who text, 37 per cent who check social media and 18 per cent who make calls.
The problem is heightened even further by a set of figures obtained by the Press Association which The Independent has reported on. The stats reveal that close to 6,000 drivers have been caught illegally using their mobile phones in the four weeks since March 1st — one motorist every seven minutes.
“Driving is a safety-critical activity that requires our full attention. Hands need to be on the wheel and eyes looking out of the windscreen, not down at the phone screen,” said Steve Gooding, the director of the RAC Foundation.
Fortunately, hands-free driving should become easier to achieve as in-car connectivity such as Alexa Voice Service mixed with Volkswagen Car-Net continues to advance the motoring world.