Top Ten Anti-Distracted Driving Rules

There are only two days left to National Distracted Driving Awareness Month by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Several states had police officers on

LA Auto Show Connected Car Expo- security, CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth & the future of connected cars

husbandKPMGThe Connected Car Expo at the the LA Auto Show was an intensive exploration of  issues of the connected car industry. The Connected Car Expo featured a series of “talks” form industry pundits along with several press conference presentations and an exhibit area.  Important topics included autonomous driving, smartphone integration, security, CarPlay, Android Auto and the future of connected cars.

AUTO Connected Car News arrived in time to hear scare-hacker Chris Vallesek say that he found hacking cars “fun.” He did note that for the average car owner, the threat currently is low because the cost to hack a car’s computer system is prohibitively high. Meanwhile, the automotive industry is working to keep users data private and protect vehicles from hacking.  

“Connected vehicle technology enables innovative features that save lives, save time and save fuel. Customers want to know their personal data is protected and their vehicle systems are secure. Individual auto companies are designing their systems with cyber security protection. As an auto industry we are working to establish a formal mechanism to share information about cyber security vulnerabilities, threats and incidents,” said Michael Camissa, director of Safety Global Automakers.


NealBoudette, from Automotive News asked audience members to admit they texted while driving, he admitted to doing so himself. Boudette asked panelists, NickSugimoto, Senior Program Director, Honda Silicon Valley Lab, Phil Abram, Chief Infotainment Officer,OnStar andUweHiggen, Head of Group Technology Office, BMW  when the public will getApple’s CarPlay for iPhone and Android Auto for Android smartphones.  GM, BMW and Honda are working hard to implement the features fromsmartphone makers. They will make sure that Google and Apple are only getting some data and the drivers are protected. For example GM’s Phil Abram said that “They are visiting our driver distraction labs and seeing how we work.”

Honda is working with Google Android Auto and its newly released SDK. Honda opened the Developer Studio for app developers with test vehicles. Honda Developer Studio is an online portal to test Android Auto apps in a prototype vehicle environment and an open innovation workspace in Silicon Valley.

BMW cars will not have Apple CarPlay next year. Uwe Higgen, from BMW noted that infotainment systems are designed to fit with the total over design and design of the vehicle, “It’s important for us that we get the most out of both worlds and that both worlds interact in a premium way.”

Android Auto and CarPlay are complimentary to in-car systems noted Abram, “It’s not a great battle or fist fight…it’s all media driven. We have to create a valuable experience for our customers.”

When AUTO Connected Car News asked the panel what’s going on with the update to iOS 8-8.1.1 with Bluetooth in BMW, GM and Honda cars. BMW and Honda reps said that they are working on it. GM’s Abrams said “We didn’t change anything…they did.”

The issues of liability and safety were discussed. Konstantin Othmer, CEO, CloudCar noted that the courts eventually will decide when there is a car accident caused by something in an infotainment system such as CarPlay or Android Auto that causes an accident.  CloudClar in its justDrive platform analyses the functions that can be completed while driving.  Say for example the driver is driving at 70 mph or in a dangerous driving condition such as ice or flooding the intelligent justDrive will  not display the text message until it is safe to do so.Users of the new OBDII device Mojio should be aware if there is a law banning cell phone use while driving and if the driver is using Mojio, it is still against the law and if the car is in an accident the driver is liable.

Justin Fishkin, Chief Strategy Officer, Local Motors showed a modular platform with crowd sourced designing with crowd funding that is able to bring new cars to market in record time with microfactories. At the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas the company showcased the world’s first 3D printed vehicle.

Volvo is working on its DriveMe system to give freedom to drivers who will let the car drive and take over when they want to with fully autonomous driving in the future.

KPMG touted its latest white paper Me My Car My Life the ultra connected age. KPMG predicts car sharing will increase and  two-car households will decrease. They showed a video of a romance enhanced by in-car functions of the future with the virtual husband showing his love for his wife projected on the windshield. The car tells the driver, “Have a nice day, Beth.”

Beth replies “Pick me up at 6:30.” Audience members laughed during the video Me My Car My Life that appears below. KPMG warns that car makers need to anticipate the market and create compelling customized driver experiences.

We covered other announcements from the Connected Car Expo including Jaguar Land Rover’s justDrive integration. BMW’s ConnectedDrive now includes Spotify. Audi and NVIDIA implemented a modular upgradeable infotainment system and are working with super computer power in a chip the size of a laptop for autonomous driving.

We video-recorded demonstrations of GM OnStarRemoteLink App,  CarPlay and Android Auto which will be published soon. Please subscribe to our “when published” newsletter to get updates.

DMS platform stops texting while driving and helps prevent drunk driving

DMSIn this video shot at Telematics West Coast, in San Diego Marwan Hannon from Driving Management Systems Inc. shows how technology can stop phone use while driving, notify parents or the driver of alcohol level and help keep drunks off the road.

The NoComm system disables mobile devices while in the car by deactivating the keyboard of the driver’s smartphone. The DMS is a fully automated system.

The driver can still make and receive phone calls via voice or Bluetooth.  The breathalyzer detects alcohol in the air by the driver. The system then alerts the driver and or parents when alcohol is detected.

DMS could be used by insurance companies, in DUI cases and by parents.

The DMS platform will be the size of chip when it finished. Hannon shows the example of a Samsung disabled when in the area of the DMS.  A case where the system is handy is when a teenager borrows a friend’s phone to text or call, when a parent has disabled functions on the teens phone.  This system blocks out only the driver’s phone.

Hannon was inspired to create DMS from the any near misses with drivers handling devices.

Pricing will be in the range of $300 -$400 when the system is complete.

A case where DMS would have been great, happened in San Diego on Rosecrans Blvd., I noticed to young teenage girls in a BMW convertible.  They both had iPhones in their hands and they were looking at them. The driver of course did not notice me. Their attitude was “Don’t we look great.”

The DMS Platform’s NoComm sensor based system identifies, isolates and disables the driver’s mobile device (including wearables) while allowing passengers to use their mobile devices. Emergency calls still work regardless of configuration.

Currently there are apps that help stop texting while driving such as the Otter App, SafeCell 360  and AT&T.

The use of cell phones in cars can be worse than drunk driving.  This device is different from a court appointed alcohol ignition interlock device such as those made by Alcohol Countermeasure Systems Corporatio (ACS).  The devices do not let the car start unless the driver takes a breath test, by blowing into a mouth piece. Ignition interlocks are often required by judges and legislation for drivers convicted of driving while drunk. The data from the ignition interlock devices are recorded and given to the probation office.

Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy at AAA reported that first offenders convicted of drunk driving on the average have driven 80 times drunk before getting caught. Nelson says that court ordered devices cost around $200 to install and $3 a day to operate, less than a cost of a drink a day.

At the annual meeting of the APMA (Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association) in Canada this year, a special connected Lexus car was demonstrated with an interlock device.

The decked out connected Lexus had a ACS integrated an alcohol interlock handset directly in the car’s computer using the QNX operating system which did not require a separate electronic control unit. The alcohol measurements and driver profiles are seen and set through the infotainment unit. A parent can set levels for a teen and then get  text messages or emails with a location and the alcohol level.

In the future a version, a mobile app will allow the administrator to program interlock settings and see breath alcohol tests with GPS coordinates in real time.

Every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. MADD is currently working to pass more legislation such as Alisa’s Law to require the use of ignition interlocks to first-time convicted drunk drivers.

dadssThe next phase of keeping drunks from driving is in the works through  DADSS Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety a program from the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to research policy challenges for more widespread use of in-vehicle technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. The group is considering passive forms of monitoring such as touch or breath detection.

This device may fit the future guidelines of the DADSS and could prevent a multitude of unnecessary accidents and deaths.  NHTSA or DADSS could possibly make this type of device mandatory in all vehicles. TEXTING/EMAIL and any use of the mobile device while driving is estimate to cause at very  3,000 deaths and 400,000 injuries per year.

AT&T Connected Car Hackathon winners: #1 Windows Phone #2 Mojio, baby seat remote, Volvo & women winners

hackathonwninnerAT&T and many programmers converged in Las Vegas for a hackathon to program new apps for cars and beyond in only two days. The first place winner lets the driver ignore wireless calls while people calling are alerted to where the driver is. AT&T has its own automotive research facility and is heavily promoting new apps for its platforms and phone. AT&T gathered many technologies together for a total of $100,000 in prizes. Teams worked together to complete the apps and played in a Nerf battle in the middle of the night.


Another big automotive developer programs at Super Mobility week was the Ford App Challenge. Many of the winning apps work with the Mojio OBDII device that uses an open source system. There is one app that will actually control the car if the parent does not return when warned that a child is left in the child seat. Another app creates a caravan of Volvos where only the first car has to do the real driving.

Here are the automotive connected car app winners, finalists and one home app that prevents carbon monoxide poisoning from cars running in garages.

Geotrack Ringback the first place winner lets people calling the driver know where the driver is by using information from travel plans on Windows Phone, tablet, or PC. An audio recording that is uploaded and saved as the drivers ringback tone When someone calls, they immediately hear the current location and time to the next destination avoiding usage fees and saving time without distracting the driver. They can also follow the trip on their Windows device.

Proximity Alert came in 2nd for the cars and was the winner from Women in Tech Accelerator. Often delivery companies give the customer a four-hour time frame when a product will be delivered. When a product is being delivered the product, vehicle and customer are associated. When the vehicle with the product approaches the customer’s home, they are notified of its arrival then the customer won’t have to wait for the furniture or fridge to be delivered. The app is available for Android and it works with Mojio from the drivers

RideSafe– is the third place winner for cars. They call it an emergency alert sidekick for collision prevention, on the road and off. It also serves as your personal heart rate monitor for vitals. RideSafe detects proximity of other vehicles near yours including a bicycle.

Car Bon is was first place for the Home Challenge and prevents carbon monoxide poisoning in garages. Cars in enclosed spaces can generate high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO). The app adds a sensor to a car that detects CO levels. When it detects dangerous levels, it shuts off the car engine and opens the garage door.

Caravan lets Volvos join a wagon train following the first driver through connected car tech. A Volvo owner declares themselves a driver, and other known Volvo owners navigate to the driver and sync to the driver’s car using Volvo’s automated driver technology and this application. The cars stay together in route following the navigation of the lead car for the remainder of the trip. Future enhancements include car-to-car intercom (to ask for stops), shared music playlists, and possibly even commuter caravans to reduce commuter traffic.

RumbleStrip completely disables the teen’s phone – no texts, Snapchats or Instagram comments to distract them. “RumbleStrip” also provides audio cues to the teen in response to common poor driving behaviors. After each drive, the teen receives a drive score. Android and Mojio.

Otto – Otto, turns your car into a buddy: one that looks out for you, maintains its own health, and has a quirky personality of its own. When your car comes alive, driving is more enjoyable, safer, and hassle free. Windows Phone

Trip Narrator – Is social narration for places while driving by. Voices tell about interesting things around. Drivers can also leave narrations for the next people who drive by. It is controlled from the dashboard with connected car integration. Trip Narrator claims to be safer because it keeps the driver engaged and awake without requiring, eyes off the road. Android & OpenCar

Connected Baby Child Seat has child presence sensor, temperature sensor, and connection to the car and to the cloud.If the child is inside the car and the temperature goes up, the controller will send an alert to the driver’s phone and will  send text and call driver gives driver remote access to the car using the Ericsson APIs (turn on hazard lights, turn on engine). If there is no response, the controller will control the car itself. Sensors are embedded in a car seat for this solution. When the child sits in the chair, temperature is measured.

MyCar’sOn? For Parents-automated alerts, the aggregated sensor data from the OBD-II car module  is seamlessly relayed to the parent when the car/home trips customizable triggers a Watch/Phones/Screens for potential followup action and/or peace of mind. If your car is suddenly turned on, the parent is notified.

Car Watcher informs the owner when the car and old phone are stolen at the same time. Leave an old device in the car and it will send a message to your other phone when something unusual happens like your car is stolen, gets run into, or a baby starts crying inside.

Pick up and Go is a smart authentication system where a wearable and app must be present before the car can be engaged. An app for parents of new drivers it apparently works only in Volvo.

Winners won monetary awards that ranged from $4,000 to $10,000, some winners received multiple awards.

Free app for teens to prevent texting while driving

SafeCell360iPhoneappSafeCell 360 is an app available to teenage drivers in the United States for the 2014/2015 year free. It enables the teens and parents to block apps, text messages, emails and monitor them.

The app provides parents the ability to limit the use of their teenage drivers access to their Android and iPhone devices while driving. SafeCell 360 is designed to run in the background and monitor for motion.

DriveSync synchs to open cloud

drivesyncIntelligent Mechatronic Systems Inc (IMS) unveiled the next generation of the DriveSync connected car platform, which now includes open cloud based architecture.

DriveSync platform now allows automotive ecosystem partners, any vehicle built after 1996 with an OBD-II ports can use connected car services using IMS plug-and-play technology with the DriveSync platform.