As the youngest MBA, I can’t say I’ve used old-school GPS systems, but I am more than aware of the Palm OS-based Garmin iQue 3600. An overpriced PDA with an antenna, that had maps of the ENTIRE U.S. on it. You could now travel anywhere without getting lost for hours holding a map. Gosh, I feel old saying that—holding a map, reading a newspaper, or unlocking your car without a button. Traditional GPS systems were then easy to use, but there were still times where it was a major distraction (music in the background, passengers tuning along, honking from every side, keeping an eye on the road of course, and the navigation system itself. Listening to Siri tell you to turn in 150 feet is useful, but visually seeing the turn is so much more helpful. The dual integration of voice and visual navigation was game-changing, though taking your eyes off the road even for a second was a major risk for you, your passengers, and all other traffic on the road. So, we’re left to choose between safety or convenience, or are we?
Founders of Carloudy loved the idea of using smartphones to navigate around the city, however, after seeing the National Safety Council statistic that cell phone use while driving causes 1.6 million crashes each year, they knew it was time to put their brains to the test. (On a side note, did you know there is a crash caused by cell phone use while driving every 20 seconds!) Carloudy is a smart, portable, completely wireless head-up display (HUD) that’s designed to provide drivers with the necessary information for their on-road experience. All you need to do is place the system on your dashboard and wait for it to connect to your smartphone through Bluetooth. The transparent display and voice control make driving with a smartphone safer and more convenient.
So, how exactly does Carloudy work? First, the device automatically connects to your iPhone or Android and overwrites the media connected to your steering wheel. The system utilizes existing applications on your phone like Google Maps and other APIs such as Yelp and ParkWhiz. You can then talk to your car through voice command (which we all do or have done before, so don’t act like it’s weird), and the app will interpret your needs and deliver the relevant information above the dashboard on the window. Carloudy has the ability to display everything from directions to a destination, the speed limit of the location you’re driving in, find nearby parking and show you the prices, search for restaurants along with their ratings, and update you on the latest traffic information along with an entire suite of other use cases.
Why is this different than a standard GPS system or using your smartphone? Carloudy was designed to optimize the on-road experience to be a lot smarter and safer by combining the transparent display, voice input, and mobile app integration. Founder, Dr. Kong, completed his Ph.D. dissertation on visual/spatial cognition. While at Cognitive AI Technologies, Dr. Kong focused on how artificial intelligence can augment people’s cognitive abilities. Carloudy was built upon the same scientific studies and theories of how human cognition uses external visual information to facilitate spatial reasoning in highly demanding mission-critical tasks, such as navigating a Navy vessel or flying a fighter jet. Carloudy is also one of the few smart HUDs that works under sunlight and in the evening. Daylight mode reflects all of the relevant information visibly on your window, while Night Time Mode uses the ambient light sensor to activate the LED back-lit for the display. Consider Carloudy your personal co-pilot that can save your life. Will we see even more innovative and safer technology in the future, I’m absolutely sure. In the meantime, think twice before using your phone while driving.