West Virginia is considering banning use of a “wearable computer with head mounted display” while driving. Makes sense, right?
Maybe not. Imagine the apps that might improve safety:
- Sensing head movement and alerting the driver when those movements indicate drowsiness.
- Using the camera to identify pedestrians and bicyclists in and around the roadway, and alerting the driver to their presence.
- Integrating with GPS so when the navigation voice says “turn right at the next intersection” there’s an arrow superimposed at the appropriate place in the intersection ahead.
- Using the camera to sense traffic signals and GPS to sense speed and alerting the driver to stop or slow when appropriate.
- Using the camera to detect when the driver is not watching the road and alert the driver.
- Displaying caller ID information upon voice command so the driver doesn’t have to look away from the road to take a call on the integrated hands-free phone.
- Wireless integration with the car’s dash to display speed and other crucial operational information.
- Wireless integration with the car’s vision/radar systems to highlight potential obstructions.
Sure, some of these apps could be integrated into the car with a dash heads-up display and voice capabilities. Others, however, benefit from having motion sensors and a camera mounted on the driver’s head. And looking at a heads-up display seems less distracting than looking down at the speedometer or other in-vehicle infotainment devices.
Let’s not knee-jerk ban these devices before they have a chance to make roads safer.