We are becoming more and more connected to the Internet and, by extension, to our smartphones. In practice, this usually means we often keep our eyes on or devices. But now where is this habit more dangerous than when driving down the road, whether on four wheels or two. Most major car makers these days have employed several technologies, like projection and HUDs, to keep drivers’ eyes on the road. Samsung is trying to do the same, but this time for motorbikes instead of cars.
Keeping driver’s eyes on the road and away from their mobile devices is admittedly easier with cars. Text-to-speech and voice control technologies, paired with HUDs, ensure that both the drivers’ eyes and hands are where they should be at all times. For motorcycle drivers, however, that is harder to pull off, short of making augmented helmets a standard safety gear.
Samsung, working together with advertising company Leo Burnett, cooked up a video concept that offers another solution. Simply called the Smart Windshield, the idea is to put important, sometimes critical information, specifically notifications within the driver’s line of sight. Well, almost within. Cars that employ this type of image projection technique are usually able to put the image a little below the direct line of sight. In the Smart Windshield’s case, however, it goes below just a bit more, which might require drivers to lower their gaze for just a wee bit.
The windshield can project information like navigation as well as calls and text messages. The latter group will b somewhat contentious, with some advocating not paying attention to those at all. It’s nearly impossible to convince drivers of that nugget of wisdom, however, especially the younger generation. What the Smart Windshield proposes instead is to show just enough information, like who’s calling or who sent the message, for the driver to decide whether to stop for a bit and respond or not.
The windshield will also supposedly let your send canned replies that indicate you are currently driving. Whether that happens automatically, Samsung didn’t elaborate. The windshield connects to a smartphone via ad hoc Wi-Fi so it is the smartphone that orchestrates mostly everything. The video doesn’t mention if there are external controls available, like buttons on the bike’s handlebars.
Samsung is admittedly wading into uncharted territory. Most similar technologies have been lavished on cars but very few on motorcycles. And those few have seen it fit to concentrate more on smart helmets, which could be safer considering those are, indeed, within the driver’s direct field of view. Of course, it doesn’t really answer the question of whether you should be looking at anything else in the first place.