7 Comments

Summary:

An unofficial app for Google Glass allows users control of their Tesla cars, but does it lead to an unsafe interaction between tech and driving?

TeslaGlass
photo: GlassTesla

The way that it stands now, tech and driving don’t necessarily have the greatest of relationships. Laws nationwide have prohibited finagling with mobile phones in any way – including both calling and texting — to curb distracted driving and prevent accidents from happening. There’s also a long-standing debate about in-car technology and whether a GPS or touchscreen menu encourages drivers to take their eyes off the road. It’s a fine line, but as a general rule it’s best to stay as distraction-free as possible, right?

Well, now there’s an app for Google Glass, Glass Tesla, that walks that line — undoubtedly leading to questions about operating a HUD while driving.

The app, released today, was unofficially developed by Sahas Katta for the Tesla Model S and comes with a few interesting features. While most are out-of-car features, some of them can be used while driving:

  • Check in on the charging status of the car.
  • Locate the car on a map and remotely sound its alarm
  • Lock/unlock the car and open the sun roof
  • View the car’s interior and exterior temperatures, with an option to engage autoclimate controls.

None of the things in the Tesla Model S app are particularly groundbreaking nor unusual, but they do bring the Google Glass closer to the car and invite people to use a maps app or other device to supplement driving. It’s also key to note that these are the features for now — there’s no telling when and how the app will change by the time Google Glass hits stores.

Using a Google Glass app for a car is a slippery slope: Once someone locates their Tesla, for example, they could unlock with Google Glass, hop in the car, enable auto-climate with the HUD and then turn on the car manually while moving to another app or taking a picture. Maps could be activated to give heads-up directions. Alerts could come in inviting the user to read texts. The user could elect to check email or any number of things.

Glass Tesla may be designed to be used outside of the car, but many of its features are gateways to using Google Glass while driving. And, to put it simply, there’s no way to know whether a person who uses a Google Glass app for a car could be trusted to take the device off of it once the engine is on.

There is no doubt that this little app won’t be the last attempt at pairing car technology with the Google Glass, but the gray area surrounding its use before, during and after driving could to more questions about safety and regulations. The gray area between technology and driving is not going away, even for the Google Glass, and it’s highly likely that along with this innovation, there will be some strict regulation.

  1. As a general aviation pilot, it is obvious to me that the addition of HUD and/or more sophisticated instrumentation could only save lives and improve the driving experience. I look at the automobile experience today and see it as a stupid and wasteful expenditure of energy and intelligence. The LA freeway system plods along at 15 mph average….Some combination of the Google driverless car and intelligent instrumentation could extend the life of our current concrete surfaced archeology.

    Share
  2. Sahas Katta Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    Thanks for the article Lauren! I’ve attended Structure and Mobilize a few times, maybe see you at a future one.

    Share
  3. We can say goodbye to car thefts after this comes out.

    Share
  4. There are already a multitude of cars with HUD’s. This is nothing new at all.

    Share
  5. Just because pilots have been trained to use such heads-up technology does NOT mean that drivers on the ground will be able to use this technology while operating the vehicle. To allow it to be used while a vehicle is moving is ridiculous. We have had several near misses due to inattentive drivers texting, referring to maps or simply talking on a phone. And they look surprised that we would be honking at them when they stray out of their lanes.

    My vehicle’s display with its touchscreen menu is not used while driving – by me. It’s simply unsafe to do so while driving. At a stop light is another matter.

    Share
  6. The Google Glass Forum is open at http://www.googleglassforum.net.

    Share
  7. The Google Glass Forum is open at http://www.googleglassforum.net

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post