Car Tech Live 220: The Volt gets cheaper, the Altima Hybrid scarcer, your government hates your car tech, and we drive the Lexus CT200h (podcast)Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 220 SHOW NOTES
Sprint plans to make it a lot easier for its customers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and off their phones. The mobile operator announced that it will preinstall Drive First, an anti-distracted-driving app, on all Android phones it sells.
Drive First is an Android app that uses GPS technology to calculate the speed at which you are traveling, automatically locking down distracting features when it thinks you are driving. When activated, Drive First directs all calls to voicemail, auto responds to incoming text messages telling the sender that you're unavailable, and blocks all except three mobile applications of your choice, such as music and navigation apps.
An override button lets you turn off Drive First to return the phone's full functionality, useful if you are a passenger. However, override actions are logged so that the account administrator, such as a parent or employer, can see if and when you're talking while driving. When Drive First is activated, you can easily make a 911 emergency call.
Sprint will preload Android devices with Drive First, but subscribers will need to opt in to the service and pay $2 per month per device to use the app. Existing Android phones will be able to download the Drive First app, but details on how much the app will cost won't be available until closer to the product launch date in the third quarter of this year.
Drive First was developed by Location Labs, which also created the DriveSmart Plus app for T-Mobile. However, unlike T-Mobile's offering, Drive Smart gives users easy access to three apps of their choosing. While the developer and carrier are probably expecting users to select navigation and entertainment apps, there's nothing (except common sense) from stopping them from permitting Facebook and Tweet Deck when Drive First is in use. … Read more
Add e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook to the growing list of distractions that drivers admit to indulging in while behind the wheel--a recent survey found that smartphone owners are using their mobile devices for more than just talking, despite driving laws and common sense.
Insurance giant State Farm conducted a survey of 912 drivers to learn how smartphones were affecting drivers. Of the licensed drivers that owned a smartphone and reported driving at least 1 hour per week, 19 percent admitted using the Internet while on the go. Looking up directions on their phones counted as using the Internet, but drivers … Read more
Apparently lawmakers need to be more specific when it comes to enacting mobile communication and driving laws. Maryland's Senate passed a bill yesterday banning reading text messages while behind the wheel. The state already has a law on the books that makes sending a text message while driving illegal, but it says nothing about reading an incoming text message--until now.
Maryland's new bill closing this loophole is awaiting signature from the governor. And just to be clear, it also applies to reading text message while you're at a stop light and not technically driving. The way the … Read more
Cellcontrol has entered into an agreement with RealVNC that makes it easier for automotive manufacturers to adopt its technology. For carmakers planning to use Nokia Terminal Mode for next-generation infotainment solutions, the partnership offers an out-of-the-box middleware solution that blocks distracting applications while a vehicle is in motion.
Terminal Mode is a standard being developed by Consumer Electronics for Automotive (CE4A), of which Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen are members, which replicates mobile devices on a vehicle's in-dash screen. The phone is tethered to the entertainment system, and occupants interact with the phone using the head unit interface. … Read more
How much do we have to pay you to buy an electric car? Ferrari does its first AWD hatchback! You might actually get your Nissan Leaf before you die. Plus, we drive the Scion tC.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 201 SHOW NOTES
For some lawmakers, Cathy Cruz Marrero's now-infamous fall into a fountain while texting couldn't have come at a better time.
In California, State Sen. Joe Simitian has reintroduced a bill that would fine cyclists $20 for texting. In Oregon, State Rep. Michael Schaufler wants to fine cyclists $90 for wearing headphones or earbuds. In Virginia, lawmakers are considering whether to broaden such a ban to include any handheld communication device.
And in New York, a bill before the legislature's transportation committee would ban the use of electronic devices while crossing streets.
This is the second time State Sen. Carl Kruger has introduced this legislation to stem what he calls "tuning in and tuning out." As if to prove his point, a 21-year-old man listening to an iPod Nano in a crosswalk on Madison Avenue in New York last December was killed when a Mack truck backed into him and dragged him 30 feet. Presumably, the man did not hear the beeping of the truck in reverse.… Read more
Relying on drivers to not use their phones each time they get behind the wheel is about as effective as McDonald's expecting consumers to substitute a salad for fries with their value meal. But LocationLabs, which develops location-based services for mobile devices, released an Android app that takes the honor system out of the equation, and automatically prevents the driver from receiving or making calls or texts while driving.
LocationLabs' DriveSmart Plus application is a one-time opt-in subscription service that automatically enforces this practice. Ford's MyFord and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems have a similar "Do Not Disturb&… Read more
Distracted driving: what's the real story? Jaguar looks into an exotic sort of hybrid; BMW slaps an iPad behind your head; new app lets you slap lousy drivers upside the head, and we drive the 2010 Scion xD.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 187 SHOW NOTES
Most teenagers have driven while distracted even though most know such behavior is dangerous, according to a new survey released Monday.
Almost 86 percent admitted to driving while texting, talking on a phone, or doing other distracting things behind the wheel, according to the results of a survey conducted by Seventeen magazine and the AAA, formally known as the American Automobile Association. The teens said they texted, talked, and ate while driving even though 84 percent of them said they know it's dangerous.
Among those surveyed, 73 percent said they've adjusted their radios while driving, 61 percent said … Read more