Opinion: NHTSA Should Take Preemptive Strike Against Google Glass-Based Navi
Google glass is still in its beta testing phase and you can only get one for testing purposes in special cases. In fact, yours truly has applied to receive one to see just how distracting it is while driving, but chances are I’ll never get my hands on one. On the surface, Google Glass looks like an awesome advancement in communication and entertainment, but when we dig a little deeper, some big issues arise.
We love automotive technology here at Topspeed, but at some point technology becomes distracting and Google Glass is right at that boundary. What makes matters worse is that several automakers are looking to integrate Google Glass into their navigation and infotainment system, with the latest being Mercedes-Benz. The problem becomes the fact that while this looks like an easier and safer way to transmit information to drivers, it actually poses some serious safety concerns.
First and foremost, Google Glass displays the information directly in front of one of your eyes, which is very distracting. Another downfall that is well documented is the fact that the prism that displays the information is reportedly "faint," making it tough to see the display in natural light — what we drive in the majority of the time. This could result in a user focusing too much on the screen and not the traffic in front of them, ending in a crash.
Additionally, sudden movements, like bumps on a road, can cause the device to slide down your nose, which causes the faintness of the screen to become worse until the user adjusts it. This could result in the user repeatedly adjusting it, leading to even more distractions.
Lastly, with so many drivers already breaking the cell phone- and video-use laws while driving, do we really need a screen sitting directly in front of the driver? Also, is having a navi screen directly in front of your eyes instead of in you peripheral vision really that much more convenient? The answer to both questions is a "no" in my opinion...
Sure, this is all up for debate and Google Glass is still in beta phase, so things may change when it rolls out in production form. However, unless Google makes some serious safety changes to the existing Glass, I think the NHTSA may want to take a close look at banning its use while driving nationwide, bypassing the state-by-state issues we have on cell phone use.