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Google Glass On The Road

Mon, 11/04/2013 - 2:34pm
Rene Henry

Bad news for tech fans out of California: Google Glass can earn you a ticket if you wear it behind the wheel of a car. A San Diego resident posted her ticket, which cited her Google Glass headset as a "monitor visible to driver," an apparent offense. Developers and techies alike will pay close attention to how this case resolves. If a judge deems Google Glass to much of a distraction, an array of developers will have to rethink apps they are building for the road. That includes German automaker Mercedes Benz, which is developing a preliminary automotive app that connects to the Mercedes navigation system.

Google Glass was plugged as a device that could change the way we experience day-to-day life. It has the chance to do so on the road, but only if law enforcement deems it safe enough to use while operating a vehicle.

(Photo from Cecilia Abadie's public Google+ Profile)

 

App Developers Push for Glass in Autos

Law enforcement is skeptical about Google Glass, but app developers who have used the device say it actually makes driving safer. Garmin and other navigation providers already produce on-windshield display devices. Google Glass proponents argue that the small display screen in the corner of this headset is no more distracting than these on-windshield displays.

Early Glass Explorer Chris Barrett has spent more than 1,500 miles behind the wheel while wearing Google Glass. Barrett doesn't just think wearing Glass is as safe as the normal driving experience, he actually thinks its safer. "I really feel that Google Glass will save lives," Barrett told Venturebeat.com. His argument: Glass keeps him from using his phone while driving. Google Glass may have the potential to distract, but drivers can operate the device and look at the road simultaneously. In contrast, a smartphone takes a driver's eyes off the road.

Mercedes and Tesla are already developing apps that incorporate Google Glass. Tesla's first-generation app enables Glass users to start and stop charging their vehicles, get directions, lock their cars and gauge temperature. Tesla and Glass owners can expect advanced features as popularity of both machines grows. Third-party developers are building apps that deliver similar performance for drivers of older cars. As we all know, the auto world has become web-spun in every process. With items like MyDriveTime.com, Safe Driving Text Machine, and Car Fax's app, you can find the best vehicles to purchase, run reports on them, drive safely in them and find where you're going. So, it seems the idea of using Google Glass on the road is not so crazy after all. Come Google Glass wide release in 2014, this technology will be available. The only question is, will it be legal?

Opposition Grows

California isn't the first government with second thoughts about Google Glass on the road. Britain's Department for Transport is planning to ban Google Glass for drivers. A department spokesman told StuffTV that his branch was alerting police "to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving." If the United States softens its stance on Google Glass and the technology proves safe behind the wheel, the U.K. could have a change of heart.

Google hears the concerns from safety advocates, which is why the search giant has been dedicated to its beta Explorer program. "We actually believe there is tremendous potential (with Glass) to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents," a Google spokesman told Cnet.com.

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