Toyota and Microsoft have a new concept car that aims to reduce driver distractions before the driver even gets behind the wheel. The Driver Awareness Research Vehicle (DAR-V) on display at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show this week uses the key fob in combination with Microsoft's Kinect technology, allowing voice and gestures to identify people and providing them with information while driving. The system also will improve driver safety.
The technology displays information on the car's side window when the driver approaches, including updates on traffic and weather; route details such as nearby gas stations; low-gas-level alerts; and even personal appointments and daily schedules customized for the driver. By providing easy access to that information before driving, the hope is that drivers will be less likely to get distracted behind the wheel, thereby reducing the chance of a collision, which could cause injury as well as increase auto insurance rates.
Because the system can identify individuals, there are numerous other applications. For example, it can create custom features for children entering the car, such as games to see how fast they can buckle their seat belt.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter: @SheDrives.