A new device hopes to curb distracted driving by projecting cellphone functions into the driver's view of the road.
Nine people a day are killed on American roadways due to distracted driving, according to the Center for Disease Control, and everyone from teens to parents admit to engaging in the risky behavior. Enter the Navdy Heads-Up Display, an aftermarket gadget that turns any car's windshield into a display. It's quite simple: A small device sits on the dashboard and projects information that appears to be about six feet in front of the driver, according to Autoblog.
Drivers can use hand motions and voice recognition to control apps, take calls, follow directions and dictate (or dismiss) text messages. It keeps the driver's eyes on the road while fulfilling the need to stay connected. It already supports popular apps like Google Maps, Spotify and iTunes, and can read texts messages out loud.
HUDs are usually in-car systems that project vital stats onto the windshield, eliminating the need for the driver's gaze to leave the road for a peak at the dash. Once the providence of luxury carmakers, HUDs have recently shown up in more affordable cars, like the Mini Cooper and the Mazda3. The Navdy HUD could bring the safety boon of HUDs to all cars.
Unfortunately, the Navdy doesn't come cheap -- pre-orders are $299, and the device will increase to $499 after the first 30 days on sale. But a simple, elegant solution to in-car communication hasn't come easily. So far, automakers' attempts to create a car safe from the distraction of cellphones have fallen flat, with drivers having to navigate through layers of complex touchscreens that can be as distracting as using a cell phone. Last year, Consumer Reports found infotainment systems scored woefully low in consumer satisfaction, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has had to start pushing for safety regulations that would cut down the time a driver can have their eyes off the road from an industry standard of 20 seconds to twelve seconds.