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

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The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 with Apple CarPlay

The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 with Apple CarPlay

Lane guidance shows the driver a series of arrows representing the lanes in the direction he is driving and the arrows indicate which direction each lane would allow the driver to turn. The correct lane is stark white while the others are light grey in color. For an exit or a right turn on a reasonably straightforward road layout, CarPlay will direct the driver to the right lane and the arrow representing that lane will be in white.


While some proprietary navigation systems such as those from BMW and Audi pick up speed limit information through the use of cameras built into the car that scan speed-limit signs, it isn’t possible for Apple CarPlay to do this. Instead, it relies on speed-limit info in the map data.

Thus the CarPlay system will be unaware when the speed limit changes while driving through an area with temporary limits, such as those in road work areas.

Speed limit info is presented in the top right corner below the compass.

Speed limit info is presented in the top right corner below the compass.

The speed-limit information is presented at the top right of the screen below the ordinal direction indicator within a clear box that resembles an actual speed-limit sign on a U.S. highway. Speed limits are not displayed for local streets.


The latest version of CarPlay recommends alternative routes while underway. While earlier versions of CarPlay would provide a banner alert if a quicker route became available, CarPlay in iOS 11 brings this to a completely new level by quietly presenting the alternative routes on the current map with information about the impact the change will have on the estimated time of arrival.


While not limited to Apple CarPlay, the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature silences all incoming alerts and notifications when the car is in motion. The feature is turned on in a manner similar to that of Do Not Disturb on the iPHone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t turn off incoming visual alerts, which we found to continue being a distraction. This feature is set in the iPhone’s control panel and also works in cars without CarPlay.

When in Do Not Disturb mode, the iPhone will respond to incoming text messages with a canned message indicating the driver is driving and unable to reply. Incoming calls will not ring although there’s no way to provide callers with a message indicating the reason the call wasn’t answered.


Overall, the general assessment at both Frequent Business Traveler and the Green Car Driver magazines is that CarPlay improves the in-vehicle infotainment experience more than any other option and that iOS 11 has added some desirable and needed features to an outstanding product.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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