NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We all know texting while driving is risky business, and now, technology once reserved for the cockpit is making its way onto the dashboard.
As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, heads-up displays that appear to float on the windshield show calls, text messages, apps and even tweets at eye-level, precluding the need for fumbling with a mobile device.
Similar technology has been helping pilots land planes since the 1940s, and now, experts said it could encourage distracted drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
“It’s far safer than picking up your phone, or trying to fumble with your phone,” said CNET car tech expert Tim Stevens.
Doug Simpson is the founder of Navdy, which has developed heads-up displays for drivers.
“There’s a transparent image that appears to float outside of your car’s windshield,” Simpson said.
Navdy projects information from a user’s smartphone onto a screen that attaches to the dashboard of a car. Drivers can have texts read aloud by a computer voice, and reply to them out loud.
“It has a proximity and a motion detector built in, so basically, if a call comes in and you don’t want to accept it, you can either reject it by voice, or just simply wave your hand to push that call — just like you might dismiss something on your smartphone,” Stevens said.
Navdy and other heads-up displays can also be integrated with your car’s computer so you can project information such as your vehicle’s fuel economy, RPMs and speed — and even get directions right on the screen.
“It’s a great way to keep your eyes on the road while interacting with your phone at the same time,” Simpson said.
But not everyone is on board. Critics say the heads-up technology may have the opposite effect of keeping drivers safer.
“There is a huge difference in using this device in a car or in an airplane,” said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair. “Cars, you can have other vehicles just inches away.”
New research by AAA finds drivers can miss stop signs and other cars while using voice technologies, because their minds are not fully focused on the road.
“Two seconds’ worth of distraction is sufficient to cause a crash,” Sinclair said.
Manufacturers counter, saying the devices not only keep drivers’ hands on the wheel, but their eyes on the road.
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