January 9, 2017 by Paul Dughi
I’ve started to wonder if we’re putting too much tech in front of drivers. As they navigate down the road, there are an awful lot of things that can add to your distracted driving.
My new car has a screen that shows current radar and weather forecasts. I’ve found the find-the-nearest-gas-stations and display their current pricing a great thing. But I worry about people using Open Table to book reservations or getting movie times — both things are on my touch screen — while driving.
At this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES), this digital concept car used Corning’s gorilla glass to give you an idea what might happen on your car’s console. Looks pretty cool to see a digital console all the way across, on the steering wheel, and on a nav screen. Here’s a picture from Bloomberg.
I can see the value in this kind of information if displayed properly. Corning says it’s lighter, too, so it can help save fuel.
Next Up: Windshield advertising
I like gadgets. I like to have the latest tech. But is it getting out of control?
But some folks are talking about the ability to integrate advertising into the system whether it’s on your display or right on your windshield with HUD (heads up display). The folks at Panasonic showed off tech that could see this scenario play out:
Imagine driving along when your windshield display lights up to tell you Wendy’s has a 2-for-1 deal at the next exit, and asks if you want to order?
That’s right, in addition to the ads, they are also talking about taking your order and letting you pay… right from your windshield.
It has Tom Gebhardt, head of Panasonic’s auto business for North America, talking about “revenue per car” that comes from subscriptions and micro payments.
“Owning the inside of the car is critical, it’s really where the money is made. The real value is locked up in the ad opportunity.” — John Butler, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst
But will tech come at a greater expense than micro payments? After declining death rates for decades, 2015 saw the biggest annual percentage increase in traffic deaths in 50 years. In the first six month of 2016, it jumped another 10.4%. A big cause has been mobile phones, and particular, using apps while driving.
I almost got hit by a car, and nearly clipped a pedestrian, this past summer. Both were playing Pokemon’ Go when it first came out and not watching what they were doing.
“NHTSA has long encouraged drivers to put down their phones and other devices, and just drive. With driver distraction one of the factors behind the rise of traffic fatalities, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that mobile devices are designed to keep drivers’ eyes where they belong — on the road.” — NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind
Tech may also be part of the solution
NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) is focusing on other types of tech that could make the roadways safer. Under proposed rules, it would have every car be able to talk to every other one.
RELATED: Talking cars could lead to safer driving and help the environment
If you’ve bought a new car lately, you know there’s an incredible amount of tech going on that has nothing to do with driving
NHSTA has proposed mandating vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology on all new light-duty vehicles. NHTSA says that would help enable a multitude of new crash-avoidance applications that, once fully deployed, could prevent hundreds of thousands of crashes every year by helping vehicles “talk” to each other.
“We are carrying the ball as far as we can to realize the potential of transportation technology to save lives… This long promised V2V rule is the next step in that progression. Once deployed, V2V will provide 360-degree situational awareness on the road and will help us enhance vehicle safety.” — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
NHTSA says it would help with safety, mobility, and the environment.
“Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways. V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold.” — NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind
And that’s just the first step. NHTSA also hopes to get other things to talk to cars, such as traffic lights, stop signs and work zones.