Google Glass has not yet been officially released, although keen tech lovers can get their hands on the wearable technology by paying an absolute premium. However, while commercial release has yet to occur, the device has already been hit by controversy and come under scrutiny. Drivers have been cautioned for using the device while driving, and in some parts of the world, it is illegal to wear and use Google Glass while driving. However, there is debate over whether the outlawing of wearing the device while behind the wheel is legitimate – you don’t use your hands to control the glasses as you would with a mobile phone or tablet.
There are obvious benefits to the use of Google Glass while driving. Its augmented reality means that directions can be overlayed on top of the roads ahead, so that satellite navigation is simpler and more effective. Maps can be displayed, and it would be possible to receive traffic updates directly to the device.
There are other potential benefits too. A new app called DriveSafe uses Infrared technology to monitor wearers’ eyes and determine whether they are about to fall asleep. An audible alert will be sent to the bone conduction speaker, when the sensors detect that eyelids are drooping and the user’s head is beginning to fall forward.
In August last year, it was reported that the government was considering a nationwide ban of using the Google Glass device while driving. They said that a range of penalties that were associated with careless driving would become fixed penalties, and that it was likely that these would be used in order to penalise anybody that was found to be using the wearable augmented reality device while they were driving.
However, in January, it has been reported that the government has been in discussion with Google and the Police regarding the situation. Google were reportedly trying to determine how to make the glasses road ready so that they could be worn by drivers on UK roads. Discussions are likely to continue, and no official release date has yet been announced, but for the time being there remains the possibility of a careless driving penalty for driving Glass users.