Google Glass Driving Almost As Unsafe As Using Smartphones

Google Glass Driving Almost As Unsafe As Using Smartphones

According to a recent study, driving with Google Glass is a little bit safer than using a smartphone. (But still super unsafe.)

There are some scientific studies out there that occasionally fall into the "why bother studying this" spectrum. One such project was carried out by the University of Central Florida to determine whether driving a car while using Google Glass was comparable to driving with a smartphone. It's already been well-determined that glancing down at a phone while driving is a distraction that can lead to horrible, and even fatal, accidents. By that logic, wearing a computer on your face should prove an equally dangerous distraction, if not more so.

But we still need to do such studies in case the data surprises us. This study is a great example: Driving with Google Glass is still a distraction, but such drivers perform better than if they were using a smartphone.

Before we continue, let's take a moment to remember that driving with Google Glass is a very bad idea that might get you killed and you shouldn't take that risk. Finished? Okay, moving on.

For the study, UCF researchers took 40 twenty-year-olds and put them in a driving simulator with either a smartphone or Google Glass device. Participants were then forced to react when a vehicle ahead of them slammed on the brakes. UCF then compared the reaction times with a control group that was driving without multitasking.

The bad news is that Google Glass users were no quicker at hitting their brakes than someone with a smartphone. The good news is they recovered more quickly, and returned to normal driving faster than the smartphone group. Presumably this result is caused by the hands-free nature of Google Glass combined with the driver being able to see through the display.

That being said, the negative effects on driving still outweigh the positive. "While Glass-using drivers demonstrated some areas of improved performance in recovering from the brake event, the device did not improve their response to the event itself," said UCF researcher Ben Sawyer. "More importantly, for every measure we recorded, messaging with either device negatively impacted driving performance. Compared to those just driving, multitaskers reacted more slowly, preserved less headway during the brake event, and subsequently adopted greater following distances."

On the plus side, these results could be applied to future research to make smart technology use safer on the road. After all, despite the hazards and illegality of distracted driving in many states, drivers still insist on using smart devices in their vehicle, leading to 1.6 million crashes a year. If we can't prevent people from using smart devices while driving, it may be possible to make smart devices safer. On that score, Google Glass could mark a very tiny step in the right direction.

"As distractive influences threaten to become more common and numerous in drivers' lives, we find the limited benefits provided by Glass a hopeful sign of technological solutions to come," Sawyer explained.

Source: University of Central Florida, via ComputerWorld

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Here's a thought: cars have an integrated signal blocker that only operates while in motion.
Got a message that just can't wait? PULL OFF THE FUCKING ROAD before answering it, and stop putting other drivers at risk.

Did the study compare the use of Sat Nav devices which take the eye away from the road also?

I really want a holographic heads up display :-(

I'm with Ascorbius on this one - I'd really only want an augmented reality display for navigational purposes, though the GGlass claims to not be for A.R.

C'est la vie.

ascorbius:
Did the study compare the use of Sat Nav devices which take the eye away from the road also?

I really want a holographic heads up display :-(

My car has a holographic HUD and it seriously needs to become standard asap, makes driving far safer as I don't need to take my eyes off the road.

Holden Commodore VF SSV Redline

40 is a small study group, plus a proper control would be each group with each test, glass, phone, and only driving.

Look, these kinds of studies always bother me, because when they're reported (and sometimes even within the study itself), people miss the point: humans can't multitask well. There are certain things we can multitask okay (driving and listening to the radio), but as soon as things get more involved (driving and arguing with your spouse), everything goes to crap.

Which brings us to what we should be using Google Glass for: augmented reality. Turn by turn directions as arrows on the ground. Car HUD on the windshield so you don't have to take your eyes off the road. Voice control for systems in your car (heat, radio, windows).

Honestly, no surprise there.
Using a phone during driving isn't as dangerous because you have to throw a glance at it and use one hand. It's extremely dangerous because despite what we all want to think, we are bad ad multitasking and any real mental challenge will distract us from driving safely.

I remember a test on one of those "scientific" channels that all now run Pawnstars and other similar shit. They tested how good humans are at multitasking. A guy had to drive around cons while taking on the phone. However to simulate a real discussion on the phone, they would ask him random mathematical problems like 15+2*4. Needless to explain the results.

Google glasses are a bit better than a phone because you don't have to take your eyes off the road, but that's just a tiny part of the whole problem. So yeah, a big no for everything besides maybe augmented reality like time, speed, navigation and other things that don't really require you to think about them.

One day we're all going to be killed by a screen we put in front of our faces... that fact is becoming clearer and clearer every single day. What form this will take I'm not sure.

After some of the videos I've seen of Google glass, I would think it blocks a person's sight so much that walking around with them on would be dangerous.

ascorbius:
Did the study compare the use of Sat Nav devices which take the eye away from the road also?

I really want a holographic heads up display :-(

it does not do that constantly though, as most sat nav is voice-navigation you can use your hearing instead your eyes and look at it when you are, say, stopped at a red light.

I too want a hologrpahic heads up display, however google glass seems to be a completel failure in this department. its intrusive and limited in scale, it also cannot do transparancy to any reasonable degree. it also cannot actually react to what you see so its all kinds of pointless.

Azuaron:
Car HUD on the windshield so you don't have to take your eyes off the road.

actually such cars exist but so far rare and expensive. id love this to be standard feature.

ascorbius:
Did the study compare the use of Sat Nav devices which take the eye away from the road also?

The problem isn't taking your eyes off the road. If that were the case, Google glass would be fine. The problem is taking your attention away from driving, and actively using any device is a problem there. Satnavs aren't because you don't (or at least you certainly shouldn't) use them while driving - you set them up before you start and just leave them there to glance at occasionally. That's no more distracting than glancing at your speedo or fuel gauge. Many built-in satnavs actually won't let you adjust them if the car is moving for precisely that reason.

I really want a holographic heads up display

They're in an interesting idea, but I'm not convinced there's actually any real benefit. Again, a quick glance away from the road in front of you is not a problem. The human eye move around constantly anyway, and you should be checking your mirrors and general surroundings and not just staring dead ahead when driving, so a HUD doesn't really provide any advantage. It's where your attention is that is the issue. If you're paying attention to what your HUD says, you're not focussed on the road ahead, so it's actually no different from a brief glance down at your instrument panel.

Kahani:

ascorbius:
Did the study compare the use of Sat Nav devices which take the eye away from the road also?

The problem isn't taking your eyes off the road. If that were the case, Google glass would be fine. The problem is taking your attention away from driving, and actively using any device is a problem there. Satnavs aren't because you don't (or at least you certainly shouldn't) use them while driving - you set them up before you start and just leave them there to glance at occasionally. That's no more distracting than glancing at your speedo or fuel gauge. Many built-in satnavs actually won't let you adjust them if the car is moving for precisely that reason.

I really want a holographic heads up display

They're in an interesting idea, but I'm not convinced there's actually any real benefit. Again, a quick glance away from the road in front of you is not a problem. The human eye move around constantly anyway, and you should be checking your mirrors and general surroundings and not just staring dead ahead when driving, so a HUD doesn't really provide any advantage. It's where your attention is that is the issue. If you're paying attention to what your HUD says, you're not focussed on the road ahead, so it's actually no different from a brief glance down at your instrument panel.

I've been driving for about 20 years now and riding motorbikes for 10 of those.
In my time I've had 2 accidents that were my fault and in no cases were electronics involved. One motorcycle accident which wasn't my fault. No amount of assistance on for me would have stopped the idiot in front of me changing into my lane suddenly cutting me off.

I use a Sat Nav - Previously a Tom Tom, these days it's on my phone in a holder in my window. It gives me audio and visual directions to my destination and confirms the legal speed for the road. I glance at it occasionally to confirm the turning I need or to ensure I'm going the right way.

I see no difference between doing that and having the some sort of image projected into the corner of my eye via google glass. In fact I'd imagine it could be safer as I'm not restricted to looking at a fixed point to get directions should I need to check them while I check around the car for danger while making a turn.

If the google glass display is acting as a satnav display I see no problem.

However it would be a problem if the user was watching a video or making a video call.. that's distracting and dangerous.

ascorbius:
If the google glass display is acting as a satnav display I see no problem.

However it would be a problem if the user was watching a video or making a video call.. that's distracting and dangerous.

Absolutely. For some reason this article completely fails to mention it, but if you read the original source the test actually involved texting using either a phone or glasses. Using Google glass as a satnav that's set up beforehand and not fiddled with while you're driving should be no different from me using my phone in exactly the same way, or anyone else using a dedicated satnav (do people actually still use them?). This study simply seems to confirm that if you're fiddling with something in a way that distracts you from driving, Google glass isn't any better than anything else.

For the most part it's really kind of obvious, but I guess some people might have tried to claim that because they don't actually need to hold it it must be safer than a phone and should be allowed.

So taking your attention away from the road you're hurdling your 2 ton deathvagon at 100+km/h on is unsafe? Who would have thought.

Unfortunately, none of this will protect the people of Earth from their own stupidity. Just remember, if any of you glasses jockeys hit me, there will be nothing to protect you from me, and I WILL hit a guy with glasses.

 

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