It seems that every year, just as the weather becomes…
Imagine standing aboard an aircraft carrier in the water, when all of a sudden the deck begins to move you upward, raising you to eye level with two special showpieces from two iconic brands. That’s what it was like to be one of nearly 200 witnesses at Land Rover’s launch event ahead of the New York International Auto Show.
Now, imagine experiencing all of this while looking through Google Glass.
We were part of those to witness the unveiling of the Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept, a vehicle designed to show the future direction of this iconic brand, including its fan-favorite Discovery. Partnering with Virgin Galactic, Land Rover aligned itself with the innovative, not-even-the-sky’s-the-limit attitude that is the fabric of Sir Richard Branson’s workmanship.
Will Google Glass be the future of capturing automotive reveals – hands-free?
Auto shows are all about the fanfare, and I think that Land Rover took the cake in New York. But what was so unique about this concept debut was my ability to witness it #throughglass using a borrowed pair of Google Glass frames. The video above details my first-hand account.
If you’ve been to one of the big car shows, then you’re familiar with the flurry of arms that go up as soon as the cloth is removed from the vehicle on stage. Unless you’re in the front row, it’s impossible to capture the moment without dozens of arms and smartphones – and yes, even aggravating iPads – in your shot. See exhibit A of this experience below.
Imagine the same scenario where everyone is wearing Google Glass where the only action necessary to take a photo is to swipe with two fingers, blink, or voice command it to do so. No arms in your pictures!
Do I see a future for Glass in the auto world?
I had some perceptions of Google Glass before ditching my pride to tote them around a couple hundred friends and strangers, but I’m glad I did it.
I instantly became a brand ambassador of Glass just by wearing it. I think it helped that wearing it as a woman who was dressed stylishly helped me not look like a complete tool (sorry dudes, you just don’t look cool wearing Glass). Fellow auto journalists who I knew in attendance came up and asked me about it, so I told them how it worked and let them try it on. It was fun to be wearing something unique and get to share the experience with others – I definitely enjoyed that part of it.
Google is now selling Glass for $1,500 to just about anyone who wants to get their hands on it. Is it worth it? I wouldn’t shell out that kind of money for this version of the gadget for two reasons: it’s clunky and it doesn’t work all that well. I do like their new titanium frames that look like a regular pair of hipster glasses with the module attached, but I’d wait for Glass to be more refined before I invest.
What about real-world application…and distracted driving?
Then there’s the distracted driving argument. One misconception I had of Glass before using it was that it is completely distracting when you’re wearing it because it’s a constant stream of information. Actually, Google Glass rests quietly on your face until you get a notification or you activate it, which you can do verbally. The eye piece rests just above the natural line-of-sight, so there’s nothing directly in your vision until you’re ready to look at it. Currently, Glass should meet the NHTSA’s requirements for car manufacturers on the duration of “looking away” to perform functions while driving a car.
Is it fool-proof? No. People are going to continue being distracted by their gadgets, but I think as more wearable technologies come out, and lawmakers are able to understand them – alongside everyday consumers – there will be more acceptance of these technologies as hands-free solutions to driver distraction.
During auto show season, reveals are a dime-a-dozen. It’s tough to make it something special and memorable. While I’m not sold on Google Glass, I’m really glad they and Land Rover offered me the opportunity to test drive them. I’d welcome the chance to do more experimentation with them in the future.