Distracted Driving to the Point of No Return

One of the reasons I feel automakers are so giddy about the headlong crash into automation has to do with the fact that they can make money after the sale.  What am I talking about?  Virtual advertising aimed at drivers—on your windshield—while you drive.  Talk about distracted driving. 

Here is the sort of scenario I am talking about.  You are driving down the interstate somewhere in America and a logo pops up on the right side of your windshield for a national fast food restaurant like Wendy’s, McDonalds, Subway etc. Suddenly, words appear (or maybe even speech) almost like magic on your windshield offering you a meal deal at the next exit. Also, if you order the food before you exit, the food will be ready for you when you arrive at the restaurant. Not only that—you can actually pay for the meal deal while driving. What? Three distinct incongruous activities that involve decision making and action set to distract from your number one activity—driving.

At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show (2017 CES) in Las Vegas, Corning showcased something called gorilla glass. The smart windshield will be able to plug into your speedometer and car’s navigation system somehow and display information in front of you on the windshield while you drive. That could be useful if the information is not too distracting and does not obliterate your view of the road. But Panasonic took this idea one step further and showcased how advertising would work on your windshield as described above. Not only is this an intrusion of private space and private time, this is also distracting on so many levels that go way beyond cell phone use.

Around the country, legislatures and city councils are debating whether or not they should allow motorists to use cell phones while driving. Any kind of distraction while driving has never been safe driving and has been given as one of the biggest reasons for the spike in traffic fatalities last year. Why would any driver want to be distracted by advertising on their windshield while hurtling down the highway at 75 to 80 miles per hour?

Advertising and marketing folks are salivating over the idea and are actually making preparations on how to utilize your vehicle’s personalized advertising space. Software companies such as Microsoft are also hanging on the cusp to bring their connected vehicle platform into reality which also would include your “vehicle infotainment center”.

I believe the future of car ownership is at stake!  What automakers really want to do is have you drive one of their fleet cars either as a carshare or a lease so that you have no choice on what appears on your windshield. Big money to be made for an automaker in this virtual personalized space aftermarket. In reality, the virtual windshield will probably be more useful for driverless vehicles. 

We are a long way from driverless cars and having any sort of advertisement on a windshield should be a non-starter for vehicles that we still drive.

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NMA’s Car of the Future Watch for January 19, 2017
The latest headlines from around the country on the car of the future.  To see these articles and more check out the Flipboard Magazine Car of the Future.

Connected Cars
-Virtual Advertising now considered to be placed on Windshields?

Electric Cars
-Tesla unveils pricing structure for its supercharger stations.

Driverless Cars
-Washington D.C. will become one of the global leaders on driverless cars.

-Las Vegas, NV tests the first driverless bus in the United States.

-Consumer Watchdog has a problem with the GM Chair on the Federal Advisory Board for Driverless Cars.

-NY Professional drivers want a ban on driverless cars in NY for 50 years.

-Airbus has announced they plan to test drive a Self-Flying Urban Vehicle in 2017.

-International Union of Public Transport says that driverless cars will cause even more congestion on streets and roads around the world.

-Michigan Senator Stabenow pushes for a driverless car innovation center in her state.

-Ohio State University uses campus as a driverless car testing ground.

-Nissan has announced it will start test driving driverless cars in London.

-Automakers and Suppliers ally in self-driving quest.

-MI, OH and PA form a Smart Belt Coalition to collaborate on Automated and Driverless Cars.

-Alabama might be the next state to regulate driverless cars.

-Driverless cars might open up more employment opportunities for the disabled.

-Jalopnik website reports that only 1 in 4 Americans trust autonomous cars.

 Emissions
-EPA has said no changes are needed for the CAFE Regs that automakers will have to make happen by 2025.

Emissions rules in other countries could help keep EPA regs in place.

-The EPA nominee plans to revisit both the CAFE Regs and whether or not states like California can set their own emissions standards (generally higher than the federal government’s).

Hydrogen Cars
-Wards Auto released a big report this week on Hydrogen Cars.

Ridesharing
-Lyft co-founders believe that you should be charged to drive unless you carpool with 3 or more in the car.  

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