Dashboard-mounted cameras provide a world of youtube schadenfreude—bad drivers and insurance fraudsters getting their public comeuppance—but also come wedded to the promise of safety and security from those things. But what about the guy constantly fiddling with it?
And dashcams are just the beginning of the technological feast glowing away at driver's eye level: GPS navigation systems, entertainment consoles, and now elaborate heads-up displays threaten to keep our eyes on high-tech gadgets rather than the highway.
At The New York Times, Matt Richtel looks at the most impressive HUD yet, from Navady, as well as what's cooking from usual suspects such as Google.
This technology is in its infancy. Navdy's device isn't shipping until later this year, and it's not clear if it will work as seamlessly as presented in the video when used in less perfect real-life conditions. But, broadly speaking, the Navdy device falls into a booming category of in-car gadgetry that might be fairly categorized as "you can have your cake and eat it too." Drive, get texts, talk on the phone, even interact on social media, and do it all without compromising safety, according to various makers of the so-called head-up displays, repeating a position taken by a growing number of automakers who sell monitors set into the dashboard or mounted on it. Some carmakers also display basic driving information, like speed and turn-by-turn directions, within a specialized windshield so a driver can remain looking ahead and not down at the instrument panel.
Psychologists hate this.
"It's a horrible idea," said Paul Atchley, a psychologist at the University of Kansas who studies driver distraction. Attending to the road is much more complex than having your head turned toward it, he said. "The technology is driven by a false assumption that seeing requires nothing more than having the eyes fixed on the right spot."