/>
X
Innovation

There's Nothing Fashionable About a Car Crash...

With the current enthusiasm for 'real time web' in some circles, where some chose to notify the world of their every move - from geo location to their lunch choice to music currently being listened to - applications like the 'Type n Walk' iPhone application demoed above are godsend.
Written by Oliver Marks, Contributor on

With the current enthusiasm for 'real time web' in some circles, where some chose to notify the world of their every move - from geo location to their lunch choice to music currently being listened to - applications like the 'Type n Walk' iPhone application demoed above are godsend.

As mobile communication gets ever more sophisticated and connectivity becomes ubiquitous these activities are trivial to perform (so long as you don't slam into a lamp post  while typing and break your mobile device).

The real time web on foot is one thing, but what about when you are controlling a two ton machine traveling at 60 miles an hour? We're all familiar with 'get off the phone and drive' bumper stickers and multitasking commuters shaving, putting on make up, eating or talking on their phone while driving. Global Positioning System (GPS) on mobile devices or mounted in vehicle contribute to people forgetting to watch the road ahead. TV sets in SUVs are pretty common in the USA and you see some pretty jaw dropping sights if you look into other vehicles while commuting.

Stowe Boyd, in his 'Operating Manual for the Social Revolution' blog, has made some typically thoughtful comments about the value of creating heads up and augmented reality displays superimposed on windscreens in front of drivers field of vision.

The Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show this week has featured a wave of very sophisticated 'infotainment systems'  - hi def video and web browsers built into dashboards along with existing audio entertainment controls and navigation devices. An indignant New York Times piece went into detail on the gizmos and safety risks earlier this week.

It's easy to criticize the car industry, but the reality is that huge numbers of people are working on the move, whether at the airport, on planes or in cars. Desk time is a luxury for many - they spend most of their time en route somewhere. Sales people have worked in their cars for decades, and a more attractive hi tech mobile office may be the differentiator in a world of bland car styling and ho hum performance.

Collaborating in cars is old hat - car phones were more popular than mobile phones in the late 70's and eighties before mobile telephony became more mobile - but the increasing trend towards texting and other activities which require the faculties needed to be safe while driving is a worrying development.

Car hacks enthusiasts will find ways to get the browser and video feeds operating while driving - they only work while parked in the out of the show room models.

We're a long way from cars that drive themselves: the Darpa Challenge, a US prize competition for driver less trucks and cars, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), shows how tough a challenge navigation across land is, although unmanned aircraft have flown from California to Australia and are increasingly used for war.

The answer is surely in-car voice controlled computing like HAL in the film 2001 a Space Odyssey, which will also alert the driver to stop speaking tweets about where they are going and pay attention to the potential danger ahead.

The scary road safety film 'Signal 30' was a feature of 1960's Drivers Ed classes - perhaps an equivalent hi def version should come as standard in the shiny new 2011 models?

Editorial standards

Related

The 21 best Black Friday deals under $30
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

The 21 best Black Friday deals under $30

The 62 best Black Friday deals you can shop at Costco right now
LG 65" Class - QNED80 Series

The 62 best Black Friday deals you can shop at Costco right now

The 52 best Black Friday deals on Amazon that are still available
Image of Amazon Echo Show 8 on a wooden table in front of a person cooking and folding pastry dough.

The 52 best Black Friday deals on Amazon that are still available