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Beyond Smartphones - Get Ready for In-vehicle Wearables

John Day

John Day

Posted Feb 12, 2014

According to ABI Research, technology that allows drivers and passengers to use wearable smart devices in cars is the latest trend in automotive.

ABI estimates that wearable devices will interface with more than 90% of vehicles shipping globally in 2019, either directly or via smartphones. It’s a logical conclusion, according to VP and practice director, Dominique Bonte, considering the fast ramp-up of in-vehicle smartphone integration.

If phones are okay, why not watches, or Google Glass? The latter has stirred controversy, resulting in proposed legislation in several U.S. states, and in the U.K.

Bonte notes that it’s not the form-factor that should be banned; just certain use cases, like watching videos. He suggests that eyewear able to function as a dashboard camera, or to display blind spot or collision safety alerts, will contribute to safer driving.

“With in-car infotainment becoming a key customer proposition, the automotive industry is designing user interfaces both offering a rich and convenient experience and guaranteeing safety by preventing driver distraction,” Bonte says.

“While head unit proximity touch screens, heads up displays and speech recognition are now well established, the quest for next-generation automotive HMI is still on, with gesture recognition, eye control and augmented reality edging closer to implementation. At the same time, wearable form-factors are being explored bearing testimony to the automotive industry’s objective to keep up with consumer electronics innovation. But they also contribute to creating a seamless digital user experience inside and outside the vehicle.”

And it’s likely that wearables will kickstart an aftermarket connected car application ecosystem. Pebble Smartwatch, for example, has its own appstore, and Mercedes is interested in developing a Pebble app similar to its own Digital DriveStyle iPhone app. BMW and Nissan have also taken steps to integrate smart watches.

Do you own a smart watch? Are you planning to buy one? Are you using or looking forward to using Google Glass?

Pebble Smartwatch, Nissan, appstore, ABI Research, iPhone app, Mercedes, Digital DriveStyle, in-car infotainment

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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