A study from the automotive market research firm SBD study asked 46 car owners to complete simple tasks on several automaker's infotainment systems. They were successful only 40 percent of the time. The remaining 60 percent of the time they were lost navigating through menus and unused apps.
Andrew Hart, head of advanced research at SBD, told Computer World automakers rushed their infotainment systems to market without considering how consumers would interact with them.
"As an industry, we're striving to develop Swiss Army knives instead of the spoons our customers want," Hart told the publication.
A focus group of drivers at the Telematic Detroit conference agreed.
Six drivers put six infotainment systems to the test, then discussed their impressions. The group overwhelmingly chose to use just navigation and music apps during their experience. For navigation, they favored a Google Search browser, saying it was quicker and more reliable than in-car navigation apps. The second most popular app was Pandora radio, which provided a more interesting mix of music than satellite radio.
These findings are not overly surprising. Prominent publications such as Consumer Reports regularly trash in-car infotainment systems as slow and confusing.