If Los Angeles is still the capital of car culture, it's also the town where texting and driving clogs up traffic and, worse, causes terrible accidents.
A California technology entrepreneur who was part of Apple's Siri development team thinks he has a solution, a device that makes you keep your hands on your steering wheel.
DRIVE is a small gizmo that attaches to your steering column and reads out your texts and emails for you. You can respond, but not unless both hands are on the wheel.
Slated for summer release, the device works via iOS and Android apps on your phone.
The idea, says former Siri programmer Ronald Isaac, is to help people prioritize and remind them they're driving two-ton-plus machines:
You're eating a burger and a message comes through. You're like, I want to grab my phone. But the fact you can't put both hands on wheel means you can't engage with your phone. Once you're finished with your burger, you put both hands on the wheel, and now you have control of your messaging.
In other words, DRIVE knows when you're driving with both hands on the wheel. And you can control certain aspects of your phone with finger motions, too, Isaac said.
“Everything that shows up as a notification gets read to you out loud,” he said.
To respond you put both hands on the wheel and speak. DRIVE will package what you say as an email or text and respond for you.
“Telling people not to text and drive is a temporary solution to a major problem,” Isaac says. “It's only going to get worse. The least we can ask people to do is to try not to multitask.”
The device will probably cost $149, and it will be ideal for parents who don't want their teens to text and drive, he said.
The DRIVE team is still raising money through crowdfunding, with a goal of $88,000 to help get the device manufactured, Isaac said. He's also speaking to angel investors.
DRIVE allows this whole notion of saying, Get into the car, trust me, you'll be fed information, you don't have to worry. But it will be at your own pace. If you're busy doing something else, when you're ready for it just put your hands on the wheel.