Let’s be honest. How many of us reach for our smartphone the moment we hear it ring or some type of message come in? Even when we’re driving and know we shouldn’t? Statistics say drivers are three times as likely to get into an accident when they use their phone in the car. Yet many of us do it anyway.
One company has created a way for you to keep an eye on your phone without looking away from the road. Meet Navdy, a head-up display that shows driving directions, text messages and phone calls on a projection screen that looks like it’s floating on the street in front of you. The self-described “Google Glass for your car” is available for pre-order starting today, with plans to start shipping at the beginning of next year.
In-vehicle head-up displays aren’t anything new. Some 1.2 million cars were sold with a head-up display system last year and about 800,000 the year before. Navdy is different from many of the options out there now, in part because of how you interact with it.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunities to improve the experience of using apps and your phone in the car, and make it much better, but also make it much safer at the same time,” Navdy CEO Doug Simpson says.
The head-up display unit rests on your car’s dashboard right above your steering wheel and uses a high-resolution projector to display a transparent image in front of you -- visible even in bright sunlight. You can interact with the unit by talking or through gesture controls, so you never have to look away from the road in front of you. For instance, if Mom calls while you’re headed to work, you can swipe left in the air to accept the call and start talking, or swipe right to dismiss it. Regardless of your choice, your driving directions will always stay on the left side of the screen, so you won’t miss a turn while you chat.
“Knobs, buttons and touch screens all force you to look down and take your eyes off the road, but touchless gestures are very natural and allow you to keep your eyes on the road,” says Simpson.
Users can decide how and when notifications appear. For instance, you can opt to not get text messages at all while you drive, or have texts read aloud to you while the car is in motion. There are also parental controls to restrict what younger drivers might be able to see on the screen.
The display can also be integrated into your car’s system to display your speed, warning notifications, or even let you know how many miles you can go before you’re really out of gas. The device is powered by and connects to your car’s computer through its diagnostics port, an easy-to-access connection in every vehicle made in 1996 or after.
Navdy is hoping to raise $60,000 during its 30-day pre-order campaign starting today. During the pre-order period it’s selling the device for $299, a $200 discount from its expected $499 retail price.