Advances in computer chip technology have finally made web-connected dashboard computers possible in cars, to the delight of automakers and the horror of safety advocates. Chips used to draw too much power to make state-of-the-art car setups viable, but that’s changed, and this year’s CES has seen a raft of offerings from the likes of Ford and Audi. “This is irresponsible at best and pernicious at worst,” a professor tells the New York Times.
Some, but not all, systems block drivers from watching videos or web surfing while driving, the Times reports. Audi's facilitates web searches while you're driving by allowing you to scribble on a drop-down touch pad. Appalled safety advocates note that the longer a driver's eyes are off the road, the risk “goes up exponentially.” But car companies say drivers will expect their cars to be able to do everything their phones can. “We are trying to make that driving experience one that is very engaging,” a Ford exec reasons. And worry not, drivers. An Audi system has this helpful reminder: “Please only use the online services when traffic conditions allow you to do so safely.”