• 271


The auto industry is struggling with the idea of how to pile tons of electronics and connectivity into their vehicles (bringing in lots of profit in the process) while also keeping drivers safe and attentive on the road.
They're exploring all sorts of ideas: cars that communicate with one another, voice activated technology, and freezing out cellphones so that they won't work inside the car. The Center for Automotive Research on Friday hosted a panel of speakers working on driver distraction issues, who say the industry is moving quickly toward finding solutions.

Some researchers believe there are answers to be found in the entertainment field. Namely, magic.

"Magic is about learning people's psychology and exploiting that to fool them," said Nick Pudar, vice president of business planning for General Motors' OnStar division. "The same principles can be applied to driver distraction, so we can get your attention when we need to."

Pudar, an amateur magician, said his tricks often involve distracting people so that they aren't paying attention to what he's really doing. But drivers can be trained to put their eyes back on the road using similar techniques.

Volvo is testing a system that would track driver eye movements. If the car senses that the driver isn't looking at the road, it will flash a series of lights on the dashboard, near the windshield, getting the driver's focus back on the road.

Kind of like the magician who sets off a flash fireball with smoke as a distraction so the audience won't notice something else on stage.

Cadillac and other automakers use something similar, a vibrating seat, that pulses when the car veers out of its lane, meant to snap drivers back to attention. Lexus uses a driver monitor that uses flashing lights and warning chimes to regain driver attention, and can brake the car if the driver is completely unaware of what's going on.

"We can use the principles of deception that are used in magic to help make drivers more aware," Pudar said.

RELATED:


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 271 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      How I wish the lane change vibration was in effect now or the ability to shut down a cell phone. Our son was on his motorcycle and at a complete stop waiting to turn left into a driveway. A distracted (to say it politely) driver who was looking at his cell phone drifted out of his lane and directly into our son and his passenger. There was no attempt to brake at all...he just plowed right into then. Our son has now been in the hospital for 2 months with traumatic brain injuries and other physical injuries. His passenger sustained a broken pelvis and compound fractured leg. Neither of their lives will ever be the same. The kid who hit them has nothing but a $200 fine which he hasn't showed up to pay yet. Everyone please listen, do not operate your cell phone while driving. No one is beyond making very serious mistakes.
        albert
        • 2 Years Ago
        I totally agree with you. A distracted driver slammed into the rear of our car on a 2 lane highway with a traffic light. He hit us going full speed...55mph. It totaled our car, but thankfully neither of us had more than a mild case of whiplash. I think they should outlaw ALL use of cellular devices while operating a vehicle. They need to change the way we think about communicating while behind the wheel of a car. I think they should have a device in the car that transmits a signal that blocks all signals in the car, unless the key is in the off position. I do not even use a cell device while in my car and have not missed any calls. Well there have been times I did not pick up some milk or bread on the way home, but I do not think that errand is worth mine or anyone elses life.
      gary
      • 2 Years Ago
      turn off the phones when the car starts !! what did we do just a few years ago when there was no phones. if it is that important people will pull over to use them. and 911 can always be used but if your having a heart attack do you really think your thinking of calling 911! let those people that cann't chew gum without their phones learm to do without it and see how peacefull and quite it can be.
      ctslair
      • 2 Years Ago
      Block cell phone use in a car use except for 911 calls; easy enough to do with the right software. Some of these comments demonstrate that some folks think they HAVE to be able to talk to anybody anywhere anytime, no matter what they're supposed to be doing (Like driving the damn car without killing somebody in the process.) People driving around oblivious to traffic just so they can ask what u doing? is moronic but they aren't going to stop unless they're made to stop.
      ctslair
      • 2 Years Ago
      Block cell phone use in a car use except for 911 calls; easy enough to do with the right software. Some of these comments demonstrate that some folks think they HAVE to be able to talk to anybody anywhere anytime, no matter what they're supposed to be doing (Like driving the damn car without killing somebody in the process.) People driving around oblivious to traffic just so they can ask what u doing? is moronic but they aren't going to stop unless they're made to stop.
      KLS
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am more interested in a vehicle that won't be recalled in a few yrs for an exploding fuel tank, or faulty braking system, etc. Make fees/fines steep for non hands free phone usage, plus points on their DL and an automatic rate hike. When my husband and I shared a vehicle, I drove 500 miles a week, sometimes more. Now I drive only about 300-400. I have two special needs children, my in-laws are homebound and in frail health. I get calls all the time from either health care officials, teachers, therapists, and of course, especially now, the annoying political 'who are you going to vote for' dweeb. The stupidity I see with people paying more attention to their phone calls is just scary. More than once I have had to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting some dimwit who is more into their call than paying attention to opposing traffic, or 'oops, where did that stop sign come from?' I think that if we start coming down on people for talking without hands free devices, it will not go away, but hopefully, it will not be as common. I do not feel talking on the phone is the problem, it is the person who cannot manage both. Many act as if driving is a right. It isn't. It is a privilege. It is a necessary privilege, but still a privilege.
      Maj,Max,Swet,MoM
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you turn off the key that makes the car start then you can use your cell in the car...great Idea.
      erbjl
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you have devices that monitor your eyes, how are you supposed to know if you are going over the speed limit? Or that your engine is over heating, Or that any of the other dashboard warnings is active? Having a beeping warning is itself distracting because you need to figure out what the warning means. I think it is one thing to be talking on the phone with someone else on a completely different topic (that can be distractive, especially if you get into a deep discussion or arguement) and looking at dashboard instruments and even a GPS, ect. which is telling you what is up ahead and where you need to turn, which is intimately involved with driving safely. Banning cell phone use which can truely be destracting to the driving process, may be reasonable, but some of these suggestions are really silly, unworkable and unreasonable.
      kjmayberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't want my car being a policeman.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I bought a new auto recently and it came equipped with all of the modern gadgetry on the dashboard and steering wheel. I find that it is almost impossible to use the electronic system while driving without taking your eye off the road. While I admit that the mechanical parts of the modern autos are well designed for safety and comfort and a huge improvement over the past, the gadgetry along with the use of cell phones while driving is an accident waiting to happen. My next auto purchase will be one that comes equipped with a radio with knobs and a cd exchanger that holds 5 hours of music of my own choice if there is an option. Oh yes, I do like the backup vision especially at night.
      • 2 Years Ago
      LOL Really stupid idea to make cars where cell phones won't work in them...What if someone gets in an accident and is trapped...Or is locked in their trunk by someone trying to kidnap them...Or they need their gps to find the way to the hospital..Or something...Sometimes these people don't think.
      Brian Workman
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is a great option for carjackers, so they can jump & run and not stop the car, to get away!
      jetdogy
      • 2 Years Ago
      * I would rather they make a slapping device. If the car senses that the driver is "texting", a mechanical hand would pop out and slap the heck out of the stunad. "Volvo is testing a system that would track driver eye movements. If the car senses that the driver isn't looking at the road, it will flash a series of lights on the dashboard, near the windshield, getting the driver's focus back on the road."
    • Load More Comments