'Automakers are experts at building safer cars, but Google and Apple are more skilled at building safer vehicle infotainment technology'.

Manufacturers are pouring countless hours (and dollars) into developing more advanced infotainment systems, as they race for technology leadership.

While they're feature-packed and (sometimes) look very pretty, a study from the North American AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are less distracting in day-to-day driving.

“Automakers are experts at building safer cars, but Google and Apple are more skilled at building safer vehicle infotainment technology,” said Marshall Doney, North American AAA president and CEO.

“By leveraging their strengths, the two industries must work together to significantly improve the design, functionality and safety of these technologies.”

The study found Android Auto and Apple CarPlay required a 'very high' amount of attention when entering a destination and a 'moderate' amount to dial a call or choose an audio source. CarPlay took 'high' attention to send a text, while Android Auto was 'very high' for the same task.

By way of comparison, the five native in-car systems sampled required 'very high' focus for navigation inputs, 'high' for calls, 'very high' for texting and 'high' to select an audio input.

Based on those findings, the AAA made a number of recommendations, chief among which was motion lockout on navigation or phone inputs. That's a step common among Japanese manufacturers, and one that tends to irritate users no end.

“Drivers must use common sense when it comes to technology inside the vehicle. Just because it is available, doesn’t make it safe to use,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety and advocacy.

“Smartphone companies and automakers must collaborate to reduce the potential for distraction that technology places on drivers. The airline industry doesn’t compete on safety, and neither should automakers. Motorists deserve better.”

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are becoming standard in a growing number of cars. Mazda, one of the last holdouts, last week announced plans to include the technology in its entire Australian range.