CarPlay and driving technologies

I drive a 2020 Mazda CX5 with a head up display. I chose this car over a Subaru Outback because it had a smaller display and more analog controls but also because of the head up display. I’m 73 and desire every advantage that technology might afford an aging system.
The head up display works fine day and night, although polarized sunglasses are a problem by day. Having the road clearly in my peripheral vision while glancing at the head up display to check my speed is terrific.
I dread buying my next car if there isn’t solid voice recognition capability to control everything that distracts from the road.

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Which brings up the questions of what’s the latency of Car Play now, what will it be in the future, and how much will it depend on keywords that those of us who are getting along in years may not be able to remember instantly? Officially 5G latency is supposed to be a millisecond, but functionally it means to the nearest cell tower, and if Car Play works in the cloud, the latency will depend on where the nearest servers are.

It’s not the device or the interface it’s the USE of the thing. Holding a phone against the ear is no less safe than using one hands-free. The distraction of the conversation is the killer.

The degree of skill to multitask among drivers is all over the place. If the most basic of skills needed to safely operate a motor vehicle elude too many drivers already (turn signal, following distance, merging) it boggles the mind to consider these same, sad drivers trying to operate an entertainment or navigation system while driving.

Heads-up. Voice control. It doesn’t matter. Thank God today’s vehicles are far safer than they were not all that long ago. Watch out for the other guy. :checkered_flag:

One of the big things Tesla did was build out a super fast charging network. That means I can take a trip from New York to Chicago and not worry about range. Sure, every time I make the trip from New York to Chicago, I take a plane. Who wants to drive 1000 miles from New York to Chicago? But if I ever did, I know I can do it.

It’s why I have a Land Rover Discovery. Sure, I mainly drive between the grocery store and my house. But if I ever do go on a jungle safari, I know my car can handle it!

It’s not the thousand-mile trip from New York to Chicago.

It’s the 200 mile trip from my home in Virginia to my parents home in New Jersey when we visit them for a weekend. Today, with my gas powered car, I can get there, drive us all to dinner the next day, and get halfway home before I need to refuel.

This is what an EV is competing against. At least one of my family’s cars (the one we take on trips) must be able to get there and home again, preferably with only one mid-trip recharge. And if at all possible, be able to recharge from my parents’ home power over the course of the weekend - which will be from an ordinary 15A 120V outlet, since they won’t have a high powered charging station.

There are a few choices today, but a few short years ago, Tesla was literally the only company making a car capable of handling the trip.

This is entirely within the capabilities of my 2017 Bolt. Drive 200 miles, plug in to regular voltage outlet while there, and depending on how long the stay is, drive 200 miles home. In my case I also have the option of Level II or Level III (Fast DC) charging stations along the route if I feel the need to charge, up to 80% in 40 minutes while eating lunch. Just for safety reasons, it’s a good idea to break up a 200 mile trip in any case.

Everyone’s different. I’d never get anywhere if I stopped every less-than-200 miles. I typically stop when I need gas, which is over 400 miles.

Gas, maybe a bathroom break, less likely food as I keep stuff stashed within reach. It is rare that my stops are even 30 minutes, 20 is more likely.


Similar here. “Super fast charging” still lasts at least one order of magnitude longer than gassing up. Me, on a road trip I’d hate to be stuck for 45 min in the middle of nowhere forced to take a break in a place where my only gourmet option is along the lines of Subway.

This also raises another issue:

Because you likely will not be staying with the car while it is charging, there is a huge likelihood that the car will be occupying the charger well beyond the time the charge is done. So you will be blocking others from using it. While not a critical problem when there are other chargers available for newly arrived folk, it is a problem when EV’s popularity grows. I can see a few possible solutions:

  1. You receive an alert when charging is done, and, the waiting facility (restaurant, cafe, bookstore,etc.) lets you drop what you are doing to move the car away from the charger and then resume your activity,

  2. Charging attendants (valets) move your car to a holding area when charging completes.

  3. As an expansion of 2): 1 charger services multiple parking spots and an attendant actually handles the charging–moving it from one car to the next in the queue when charging is finished. Of course, you are kept informed of the status.

As far as I know, no serious work is being done to think through this queueing issue.

Polestar, the EV division of Volvo is adding CarPlay through an over the air update:

This quote is from the article:

“What makes this addition to the Polestar 2 interesting is that the vehicle’s infotainment system is powered by Android Automotive.”

With one exception that I noticed above (JPSokal’s comment), nobody’s responding to the head-up display issue. My 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix had a basic HUD that showed my speed, turn signal indicators, radio station or CD channel selection, and some warning indicators. Audio channel selection & volume control were under my thumbs on the steering wheel. Not once was there a sunlight washout issue; at night, the brightness auto-adjusted appropriately. Everything I needed was projected out in front; there was almost never a need to go head-down to address controls or info. It was great.

When I was ready to buy a new car in 2013, I assumed that by then, HUD technology would be advanced and ubiquitous–it was neither; in fact, it was nearly impossible to find (only Camaro, Buick Lacrosse, and an expensive BMW model offered HUDs at the time). I was sorry to give up the Grand Prix, and I ended up with (and still have) a HUD-less Audi A5.

To me, a well-done, informative HUD (with controls on the steering wheel) is the safest approach, but apparently car buyers aren’t clamoring for this solution, or we’d see it offered more.


Tesla has a policy for their Superchargers that encourages users to move their cars as soon as they are 80% charged by invoking an ‘idle fee’ if that charging station has many users. They also are working on eventually having the cars move themselves after charging.

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Now that you mention it, I remember talk about HUDs in cars quite a while back, but I don’t remember seeing them live.
CY Vision is offering a new generation of automotive HUDs, that look promising, but they are using the buzzword 3D Augmented Reality. They have a video about their display on the home page, which shows it working at 0:37 and an old-style HUD washed out by solar glare at 1:37. I would be more impressed if the video showed fewer talking heads and more examples of the display under various lighting.

I agree, but I think the problem is that buyers don’t want to pay extra to install an HUD, and to have it as a standard would raise the price of the cars. Personally, I think that keeping eyes on the road is a big advantage. And interestingly, There’s quite a few HUD car apps for sale at Apple’s App Store.

Yep. Tried a few of them, and of course they can give you only GPS-derived info (speed, direction, distance traveled); they aren’t tied in to the car systems, so can’t give you info from there. But worst of all is that all the ones I tried are useless on the dashboard in any amount of sunlight. Built-in HUDs typically have the brightness problem solved–the one in my Grand Prix had a scroll-wheel adjust for brightness, but I seldom had to make changes.