• Home
  • In the news: between May 18 - June 8, 2015

In the news: between May 18 - June 8, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the media between May 18 and June 8, 2015

Eyes on the Road. Head in the Cloud. - New York Times

Navdy, one of a handful of start-up companies bringing a futuristic spin to the debate over distracted driving, and how to curb it. The company is developing a device to project driving information and data streamed from a smartphone into a driver’s field of view. There are several versions of this nascent technology, but they generally work by using a projection device that wirelessly picks up information from the phone and uses sophisticated optics to allow the information — maps, speed, incoming texts, caller identification and even social media notifications — to hover above the dashboard. Hand gestures or voice commands allow drivers to answer a call or hang up.

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. 

The federal government has issued nonbinding guidelines that govern car “infotainment systems,” and one of its main messages is that performing certain nondriving tasks interferes inherently with a driver’s safety. Experts in the science of attention say that some of the new head-up displays may be raising risks that are so plain that you don’t need to be a driver’s mother to appreciate them.

“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.”

Additional media coverage includes: