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UAS

Driving With Augmented Reality

ionroad

​At first blush, combining the real world with the virtual world while driving sounds like a bad idea. It's bad enough that we can be distracted by the radio or my smart phones let along more technology. However, if used correctly, there is room for augmented reality in the transportation/driving space particularly as autonomous vehicles work their way into common practice.

Augmented reality is when the physical, real-world is supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, imagery or other data. The most cited examples of augmented reality are things like:

  • Games that bring virtual avatars into the real world,
  • Travel and dining apps that allow users to leave tags about restaurant that can be accessed by others running the app when they point their phone's camera down a street, or
  • Apps that allow a user to access design specifications, maintenance manuals or digital documentation while interacting with a piece of equipment
  • The use of your smart phone to help you drive more safely with augmented reality is another app for consideration.

    The problem these apps are trying to help avoid are situations such as you see here:

    Recently, we tested 2 augmented reality driving applications for my iPhone (Augmented Driving and iOnRoad). For what it's worth, these tests were done holding the phone and manipulating the app while someone else drove. Brief comments are below.

    Augmented Driving (screen shot looking out vehicle front window)

     iOnRoad (screen shot looking out vehicle front window)

    Overall Benefits

    1. Allows you to have technology similar to what is available in new vehicles

    2. Very simple setup and usage

    3. The use of audio warnings for vehicle detection when it's too close, managing your distance between the car in front of you, and drifting into another lane are the most beneficial for me. Without the audio, I'd be inclined to look to my screen which would be a concern.

    4. Tracks metrics on travel which is nice if you're in an older car that doesn't do that automatically

    Overall Challenges

    1. Even if you're really listening in to the sound alerts, there's still concern that the app will distract the driver.

    2. To run either apps your phone needs to be mounted on your dash and looking out your window. To use it, you need to commit.

    Augmented Driving (aDriving) - $3.99

    1. The audio warnings were nice. Once you get to know the different tones, it gives you a good sense of what's happening

    2. It was nice being able to hide the full Heads Up Display (HUD), although the point of having a phone camera simply pointing out the front window was lost on the test group. It feels a bit like the dashboard cameras you see in police cars these days.

    3. Calibration was a bit tricky but after a retry or two it

    iOnRoad - $0.99

    1. Layout was cleaner than aDriving and the broad green and red helped me at a quick glance

    2. The pop-ups that told me how far away I was from the vehicle in front of me (or how much time was between us) was simple and effective 3. Speed limit was close to what my car reported but I'd probably rely on my own speedometer