The uber-creative minds at the AT&T Labs, AT&T’s research contingent, have been busier than Santa’s elves. Their new smartphone technologies geared at automobiles might border on intrusive but are nonetheless genius. From a hands-free, cellphone-leveraging car unlocking method to digital teenage driver monitoring to location-based messaging AT&T has got an interesting lineup of new technologies coming out soon. This new batch of cool shiznit is highly focused on location-and speech-recognition-based APIs so expect it to be slightly encroaching.
Let’s check them out:
- A hands-free new method of unlocking your car door, by tapping your cellphone to a car-door sensor. This even works when the smartphone is in your pocket so door-unlocking hip checking might be in order soon.
- A vibrating steering wheel that takes directions from your GPS navigator and vibrates when your reach the next turn.
- An app that recognizes if you leave any personal possessions behind.
- A location-based messaging system called Donde (‘where’ for anyone who missed high-school Spanish class), to become part of their SMS service, that allows you to send messages to other users on their network that will only be delivered once the recipient arrives at a specific geographic location.
Personally, I would use all of those, so well done AT&T.
Driving Safely is a major project being worked on by AT&T developers in Israel. This new project uses car electronic systems in combo with a smartphone app, that allows for data to be sent back the owners’ smartphones about how their car is being operated. Think: snooping parents checking up on their (new driver) wild teens. Not only will the application monitor car data it can also deactivate smartphone features like texting and calling when the car is in motion.
You might be thinking so what? There are already apps that do this. And you would be right. BUT, Driving Safely does it without the application having to be installed on the victims’ phones. Snooping parents and jealous wives start your engines! Upon entering the phone number of your intended victim the app begins feeding you info on the car, like where it is located geographically, how much fuel is in the tank, how fast they are driving, if they aren’t wearing their seat-belts, and more. You can even set it to send alerts to your phone if any peculiar driving elements occur, like sudden braking. The software can even drill down with the settings to include more detailed information, like finding out if the driver sent a text message immediately before braking or skidding.
This highly intelligent app can even compile information over time to create a ‘driving profile’, with average speeds, braking patterns, seatbelt use, etc.
Let’s hope the insurance companies don’t get their hands on this.