Using a mobile device while driving can not only get you killed, in some states, it can also land you in jail. While the best approach may be to leave your phone untouched for the duration of a journey, some people just can't help but check photographic evidence of what their friends have eaten for lunch.
To people who have the itch, a company has come up with a workaround, and you don't even need to have a fancy car that was made in this millennium to use it.
Navdy, a company based in San Francisco, has just launched what it calls a head-up display (HUD), which allows drivers to see notifications from their smartphones without having to take their eyes off the road. The device, which Navdy calls "Google Glass for your car," has a 5.1-inch wide transparent glass screen that shows information such as caller ID and navigation and alerts from specified apps. The display, which is designed to sit on a car's dashboard, also has a microphone and an infrared camera that facilitates voice commands and gesture controls. It can be plugged into a car's OBD II port, a feature that has been constant in car models since the late '90s.
When a driver gets a notification, he can choose to either respond or ignore the alert. If you choose to answer a notification through the gesture control route, you simply need to swipe left to respond to a call. If you're merging into a busy interstate and would rather not be distracted, you can swipe right to ignore an alert.
Navdy's voice recognition feature, meanwhile, makes use of the technology in phones with Siri and Google Now. Acceptable commands include "call mom," "compose new tweet" and "write new text."
According to the company's website, the Navdy HUD works by projecting a transparent image into the driver's field of vision. To the person behind the steering wheel, the projection looks as if it's floating six feet away. Navdy claims that the distance allows drivers to focus on the road.
"Smartphones were never designed to be used while driving... Touchscreen-based apps force you to take your eyes off the road. So we started rethinking what the experienced of using apps behind the wheel should be like. Navdy is built from the ground up to be the safest and most intuitive way to make calls, use navigation, listen to music or access notifications without ever looking away from the road," Navdy co-founder and CEO Doug Simpson told Tech Times.
The device, currently available for pre-order at $299, may be a good investment if you find yourself constantly glancing at your phone while driving.
Distraction.gov, the US government's official anti-distracted driving website, claims that 3,328 died in 2012 due to mobile phone use behind the steering wheel.