Thursday, 5 June 2014

It's not the car that Google will use to transform modern motoring

ONE of the biggest developments in modern motoring comes courtesy of some Americans and the indisputable giant of the internet. Yet it’s probably not the one you’re expecting.

Chances are, you’ll probably have caught sight of Google’s driverless car by now, and already made your mind up. Even though I love getting behind the wheel and chatting excitedly about very non-Google topics like steering and handling, the idea of having a car that takes the really mundane aspects of motoring out of the equation does have a certain appeal.

It’s a shame Google have made what’s obviously meant to be a serious contender for the future of cars look like a weird cross between a Fiat 500 and something out of an episode of Pokémon, but that’s not the biggest problem the company faces. Every other Friday night, I already take part in a car-sharing scheme which takes the driving out of the equation; I use my smartphone to summon a car, and within five minutes a Vauxhall Vectra pulls up outside, ready to whisk me to a destination of my choosing for a small fee. Google’s boffins should try it sometime. It’s brilliant!

In all seriousness, though, I reckon Google was at the centre of a far more important automotive development earlier this year, and it went largely unreported. Back in January, a San Diego woman was taken to court for driving while watching a television; it’s just that the “television” in question was her Google Glass, a set of hi-tech spectacles straight from the imagination of Gerry Anderson, which allow you to overlay virtual information over what your eyes are seeing.

In the end, the case was dropped but it nearly prompted the worrying precedent of seeing the computerised eyepiece being banned as a motoring aid (which, in the UK, it still could be). Google Glass, for now at least, has the potential to be far more useful to you or I as a visual aid while driving, using its sophisticated augmented reality to remind of the speed limit or show you where that elusive right turn up the road actually is.

Obviously, its use as an automotive tool would have to be strictly controlled in order to prevent carefree drivers from watching reruns of Fawlty Towers while on the move, but I seriously do believe that Google glasses are far more relevant to real world motoring than Google cars are.

I look forward, in true Tomorrow’s World style, to being proven completely wrong in five years’ time.

1 comment:

  1. I just wonder if it will ever happen? Looking at the car, will it pass the crash testing? Moving on to google glasses, they must be banned from being used when driving. The design will easily block some vision on one of the particularly dangerous manoeuvres on our roads, turning right from a junction. Not to mention any other where vision is vitally important.