LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – By now it should be obvious to anyone that doing pretty much anything besides actually driving while driving is inherently dangerous — more so when a hand is taken off the wheel, and even more so when focus is split between driving and a phone screen.
Luckily, we’re getting closer to the point where a drivers will no longer have to take their hands off the wheel for anything. The latest major step forward belongs to Ford, and software developer Glympse: They’ve developed a system that allows a driver equipped with an Android phone or iPhone to broadcast his positon in realtime, to anyone, all without taking his hands off the wheel.
Ford has accomplished this by integrating Glympse — a free app that lets anyone you want see or follow your location in realtime — into all their models with the Sync with MyFord technology (Ford’s name for the Bluetooth radio in their cars that connects to smartphones, paired with the steering wheel-mounted remote controls). Ford says pretty much all their new cars are equipped with the Sync with MyFord system as standard. And so far, the hands-free Glympse function is only in Fords.
Ford says the system works best with Android phones, where all the driver needs to do is hit the activation button on the steering wheel, tell the phone to activate the Glympse app and share location data. The data can either be a one-time snapshot of the user’s current location, or a length of time can be specified (up to four hours) in which the user can be followed. recipients don’t need the Glympse app, as location data can even be shared as a text message.
On the iPhone, it’s not quite as easy; the app must be the last-opened app before the driver startes driving in order for the system to work. Ford says the issue s their responsibility, and they’re working on a fix.
Here’s a clip of the system in action.