Road Test and Review: Apple CarPlay iOS 11 Lane Guidance, Speed Limit Info, and Alternative Routes

By Paul Riegler on 4 October 2017
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Apple has released the latest and greatest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 11, which included significant updates to Apple CarPlay, Apple’s in-vehicle touch-based display interface that functions as an extension of a driver’s iPhone. We took the opportunity to spend a few weeks behind the wheel in several cars with CarPlay to gauge how well it performs.

The additions include useful features such as lane guidance, a new infobox design, speed limit info, and support for alternative routes. There are also some subtle user interface refinements to notification badges, the replacement of five signal strength dots with four signal strength bars (something that was also changed on the phone itself), notification badges in the dock, and slightly larger app icons.

CarPlay was announced at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show with a prototype Volvo, which Jonathan Spira had the opportunity to test drive, so to speak. Apple calls it “the ultimate copilot,” which, while hyperbole, is also somewhat accurate given the state of the typical vehicle manufacturer-provided infotainment systems.

Lane Guidance directs the driver to the correct lane.

Lane Guidance directs the driver to the correct lane.

Fast forward to today, virtually every vehicle manufacturer, with the notable exception of Toyota, offers support for CarPlay in their newer models. This list includes Acura, Aston-Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, Citroën, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Lincoln, Maserati, MG, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Subaru, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

We spent a few weeks with several different CarPlay-equipped vehicles testing out the new version. Here’s a look at how well the new features integrate with the driving experience.

LANE GUIDANCE

The most important addition is lane guidance, which displays the lane the driver should be in via a floating black information panel that disappears after it’s no longer needed. Lane guidance is also provided via Siri’s voice prompts.

The clearer interface was achieved by splitting the old information panel into two infoboxes, one with lane guidance and turn information, the other with a presentation of the estimated time of arrival, the minutes remaining for the journey, and the remaining distance.

Click here to continue to Page 2How Lane Guidance Works

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