I'm sure there will be some outstanding reasons for using wearable computers that provide eyes-forward information displays someday, but intending to use any such device for use in conjunction with operating a motor vehicle in traffic today seems tantamount to accepting an invitation to be an organ donor.The number of such products is limited now, but like the Labor Day weekend reports of traffic deaths in olden times, I’m sure more eyes forward, heads-up displays are being pitched and prototyped now.
One of the most dangerous products i’ve ever seen at any technology launch pad event was shown at Demo 2013 last fall. The product was the Skully AR-1 motorcycle helmet which incorporates a heads-up GPS display, bluetooth connection and voice command support, plus a rear mounted camera that gives motorcyclists a 180-degree rear view of following traffic (all the better for seeing the traffic officer zooming up behind you with red lights shining after he’s noticed the glow of an illegal computer screen).
I was surprised that this product was shown at Demo, since a cursory look at the California Vehicle Code(CVC Section 27602) clearly shows that operating any motor vehicle in CA with an active television display,computer monitor or display in view of the driver is illegal, The exceptions to California’s rule are built are GPS systems that are either built into a car or mounted on a dashboard.
California’s Vehicle code rules out the most profitable market --California-- for aftermarket performance equipment such as the Skull helmets.
Google Glass users have come under the eagle eyes of California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers since the devices first appeared in the six SoCal counties.
The first ticket issued to a Google Glass wearer was written in October 2013 in San Diego on the I-15 freeway, after a female Temecula, CA resident was cited for a speeding violation and was observed by the patrol officer wearing Google Glass.
The offender, Cecelia Abadie,used an attoney to contest the citation, which was dismissed because the CHP officer couldn’t prove the glasses were turned on. But,, the attorney was unsuccessful in arguing for dismisal because Google Glass wasn’t specifically mentioned in CVC Section 27602.
Ms Abadie’s attorney was successful, however in getting a speeding ticket for driving 80 mph in a posted 65 mph section of I-15 dismissed because of a lack of evidence, according to published news reports
Abadie was the first driver to be ticketed in the United Stats for operating a motor vehicle while wearing Google Glass, according to the reports. The self described “interhumanist” claimed on her Facebook page that the case will allow “Cy Borg” (Google Glass) explorers to “drive happy.”
Apparently she overlooked the judge’s dismissing the citation on a technicality.Had it been documented that her Google Glasses been operating when she was stopped, the outcome of the case may have been much different, since CVC 27602 allows judges to impose additional penalties.
According to published report three other states are considering legislation similar to California’s.
Heads up displays and helmet augmented reality display technologies have a place in our society. Foremost on that list are helicopter gunship crews, attack aircraft pilots and entertainment venues.
Techologies that empower distracted drivers pose risks for drivers and innocent parties.
But wait there’s more.Sure as God made little green apples, an attorney representing a motorcycle driver injured because they were wearing a heads-up display will arrive at the inescapable conclusion that Google or the venture capitalists who backed start-ups that made the technology possible have very deep pockets and that manufacturers need to include warnings on product packaging.--Jim Forbes on 01/19/2010.
disclosure: I have been a motorcycle owner and rider since 1963.