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Auto Companies Welcome Google Glass Into Cars

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On: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 11:50AM | By: Chris Weiss

Auto Companies Welcome Google Glass Into Cars

Last week, all eyes were on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. One of the biggest themes at this year's show was wearable technology—computing-power gadgets that you can wear on your wrist, over your eyes, and on your body. While automakers did not figure out a way to make cars wearable, they still got in on the craze. Several auto companies made announcements about integration with wearable gadgets. It's news that's both intriguing and terrifying.

"The way people interact with their cars is about to change," Hyundai predicted in a press release. "Hyundai’s next generation of products, starting with the all-new 2015 Genesis, will allow owners to connect with their vehicle using wearable devices."

Hyundai envisions adapting many of the remote-controlled functions now handled by smartphones to other wearable gadgets, such as Google Glass. Instead of pulling your phone out of your pocket to unlock your doors or remote-start your car, you can do it with a flick of your geek-glasses.

"We see wearables as a technology trend, expanding from fitness and health monitoring to broader applications," said Barry Ratzlaff, executive director, Customer Connect and Service Business Development, Hyundai Motor America. "As a leader in connected car technology, we’re always exploring new ways to use technology to enhance the ownership experience for our customers. Wearables are a great way to extend the experience outside of the vehicle by leveraging these small screens to quickly access remote features and deliver timely vehicle information."

Hyundai will add wearable functionality to its Blue Link connectivity platform beginning with the 2015 Genesis. Google Glass users will access to Blue Link features like remote door lock/unlock, remote start, and vehicle finder. Hyundai also plans to integrate a maintenance notification system with Glass.

Audio and aftermarket specialist Harman also demonstrated wearable-tech integration. It added Google Glass functionality to its advanced driver assistance system, allowing notifications to display on Glass.

"The system uses an Android camera feed and image processing to analyze in real-time camera the potential road risks [and] provide alerts through the Google Glass," Harman explained. "For example, the system continuously computes the time to collision with the vehicle in front and provides audio-visual collision alerts once the risk level crosses a certain threshold. The concept demonstrates how a driver can receive headway alerts, collision and off-road warnings delivered straight to Google Glass, along with emergency or warning messages."

HARMAN didn't mention any availability plans, and, frankly, in a world where cars are using collision-detection hardware to brake themselves, we're not sure that a Google Glass notification system is all that necessary. Its Google Glass software sounds more like a design study delving into ways that Glass could be used in conjunction with existing vehicle technologies.

Remote start functions sound okay, but we're a bit fearful of the day when drivers are paying more attention to their fancy computer glasses than the road ahead. Hopefully, wearable technologies will be able to be safely integrated into (or deactivited by) the greater driving ecosystem.


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