Google are investigating ways that their Google Glass eyewear can be used by drivers while on the road. The kit costs £1000 and is available to those over 18 years of age, although it is targeted at developers rather than consumers. The device is still in “beta” form however it now available to buy and users are encouraged to report problems to Google so that they can make improvements on future models of the product.
Google Glass, developed by Google, is a wearable computer with an Optical Head Mounted Display. It includes a lens on the right that creates the illusion of a screen floating around 8ft in front of the user’s eyes. Glass displays information in a similar fashion to a smartphone but in a hands-free format and users can interact with the internet using voice commands. The eyewear also includes a built in camera and microphone that can capture images and record videos and sounds. Glass has been marketed as an alternative to a smart phone.
The DfT had raised concerns that the device would distract drivers and indeed, it has been illegal to view a screen while driving since the 1980s unless it is displaying driving information. Although this is not planned to be amended, it has been reported that new ways are currently being investigated to enable drivers to use Glass legally while on the road. Many brokers are also having to adapt motor trade insurance policies around the availability of Google Glass.
Some retailers have been embracing the new technology, even going as far as developing apps to be used in store and allowing staff to wear the headset. However, Glass has already been banned from cinemas amid concerns that guests will record films using the eyewear. Other retail franchises have placed restrictions on how the eyewear can be used on their premises and may ask individuals to refrain from using the device if they felt it was being used inappropriately or images of their staff were being recorded.
The KAP - unofficially dubbed ‘the Kermit’ after the famous Muppet character - is to confirm drivers have correct permission to drive through the county of Kent en route for the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel.
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