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Automakers Try to Balance Connectivity, Safety in the Connected Dash

Car is not a ‘rolling laptop,’ nor an ‘iPad Velcroed to the dash’

Automakers are thinking about safety and functionality as they look to the future of designing their big screen infotainment systems.

In one session here at the 2013 International CES on hot car trends, experts said they’re thinking about the steps that need to happen between now as automakers demonstrate features like automated parking and the future when the car might actually drive itself.

The car is evolving into the ultimate mobile device that will entertain you, said Thilo Koslowski, automotive analyst for Gartner.

GM Chief Infotainment Officer Phil Abram cautioned that the future is not just about the connected car, but safety too. “A car is 3,000 pounds of metal going at 65 miles per hour. It’s not your smartphone.”

Koslowski chimed in that some car companies have gotten carried away with putting too much technology in the dash, noting, “The car is not a laptop on wheels.”

Apps that consumers can use on their smartphones and connect to the big screen infotainment systems are big news here at International CES. Automakers are opening up development houses for these apps to third-party developers, customizing apps to make them safe for the vehicle.

That’s something Livio Founder/CEO Jake Sigal applauds, noting automakers are moving towards developing a common app standard for the car, he said during a car connectivity session. “We realize you don’t want an app setting off an airbag. People can Facebook themselves into a tree,” he said.

Noting that there’s only so much room for embedded apps in the vehicle, the current situation is “getting closer to Velcroing your iPad to the dash,” Sigal said.