China Traffic

Ever look at something and think, "Who the heck thought this was a good idea?" No? Well, you're about to. General Motors' Chinese research and development division has come up with a new Android app that will allow people to scan license plates and send messages to the vehicle's owner, regardless of whether the other driver has downloaded the app.

It's called DiDi Plate, and aside from the privacy concerns (which, we know, don't mean a lot in the People's Republic), the potential for abuse here is huge. Drivers could be easily harassed, whether they deserve to be or not, while we can imagine a cottage advertising industry popping up, with people that simply scan plates and send messages to drivers on behalf of local businesses.

The most obvious issue we see, though, is that this system actively encourages texting while driving. We aren't sure of the stats in China, but texting and driving remains an enormous problem in the US. It seems patently irresponsible for a company to launch an app that encourages such behavior. Of course, the app will also be compatible with Google Glass, although the jury is still out on whether that's any better than using a smartphone when behind the wheel.

We're attempting to get in touch with the app's creator, John Du, at GM. As soon as we hear back, we'll be sure to update this post.

Until then, head into Comments and let us know what you think of DiDi Plate.