Amidst growing concerns that mobile devices and their related activities are making drivers more distracted behind the wheel of their automobiles, it comes as little surprise that controversy continues to swirl around the burgeoning industry of wearable devices designed for use in vehicles.
If you’re not familiar with this emerging market of devices and services, you soon will be.
In-vehicle wearable integration, ABI reports, is the latest trend in automotive with announcements following each other in quick succession: Harman’s ADAS Google Glass integration, Hyundai’s Blue Link Glassware application, Mercedes’ Pebble smart watch Digital DriveStyle application, BMW’s i3 EV Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch integration, Nissan’s Nismo concept smart watch displaying biometric and vehicle diagnostics and performance data, and INRIX’s real-time traffic Google Glass demo app.
Logically following in the wake of in-vehicle smartphone integration, wearable form-factors will interface – directly or via phones – with more than 90% of vehicles shipping globally in 2019, the research firm estimates.
“With in-car infotainment becoming a key customer proposition, the automotive industry is designing user interfaces both offering a rich and convenient experience and guaranteeing safety by preventing driver distraction,” says VP and practice director at ABI, Dominique Bonte.
However, the use of wearables in cars is controversial with many governments dismissing them for safety reasons. Legislation banning eyewear is already prepared in several US states and in the UK.
“While head unit proximity touch screens, heads up displays and speech recognition are now well established, the quest for next-generation automotive HMI is still on with gesture recognition, eye control and augmented reality edging closer to implementation,” Bonte adds. “At the same time, wearable form-factors are being explored bearing testimony to the automotive industry’s objective to keep up with consumer electronics innovation. But they also contribute to creating a seamless digital user experience inside and outside the vehicle.”