David Slump

David Slump

At this year's consumer electronics show (CES), Harman confirmed the rise of so called 'wearables' with an integration of its driver assist technology with Google Glass. The company claims it is the first tier one automotive supplier to launch an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) implementation on wearable devices such as Google Glass. Harman's data also suggests that the wearables sector is a growing market and is projected to exceed US$5 billion in 2016. Matthew Beecham spoke to Harman's President of Automotive Services David Slump about the technology and the company's plans for it.

Can you explain a little about the system you are demonstrating?

We are always looking for the best way to provide a driver with information in a safe and convenient way. The aim of using this technology is to provide key safety information to the driver without them having to turn their head away from the road. What we are showing at CES is one option we are looking at for what we call a 'future experience'. It is part of an innovation pipeline of technologies investigating alternative ways in which drivers can interact and receive important information from the car.  For the demonstration we have here at CES, the Harman system uses an Android camera feed and image processing to analyse and assess in real time, potential road risks and then to provide relevant alerts to the driver through the Google Glass.  We think that Google Glass is one interesting method of relaying such information to drivers without them having taking their eyes off the road.

Could you provide an example of how this could work?

Our concept on show here demonstrates how a range of warnings or important messages can be sent straight to Google Glass. In this demonstration it is integrated with our own proprietary ADAS system. Example applications include the ability to continuously monitor and calculate the time to collision with the car in front. If the gap to the other vehicle reaches a pre-defined critical point or threshold, the system provides an audio-visual alert, to the driver, of the threat of a collision.

Is this technology now available?

Yes, this concept is currently working on Android devices and we are demonstrating it here at our booth at CES.

There is naturally going to be some concern about driver distraction. How do you consider this compared to other methods?

Our research to date shows that it is similar to a head-up display offering.  That technology also offers the ability to display warnings without taking your eyes off the road. We are of course monitoring public opinion, legislation and the case of the driver who was wearing a Google Glass and received a ticket in California. As an automotive product, we have to ensure it is safe for use in the car for the driver and other road users.