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Google Glass Explorers: How they ‘see’ using Glass while driving

December 12, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Auto Law Attorney Brandon Hewitt on the Mitch Jackson Spreecast as Glass Explorers provide insights on safety issues of using Google Glass while driving

Google Glass while driving

Last Friday, Brandon Hewitt, an attorney at Michigan Auto Law was an invited guest on attorney Mitch Jackson’s pioneering Spreecast on Google Glass. The show also had Cecilia Abadie, the woman who received much national notoriety as the first person using Google Glass in America today to receive a traffic ticket.

It was a fun and interesting show, and the question of just how distracting and unsafe it is to wear Glass while driving a car was discussed by Mitch, Brandon, Cecilia and the guests on the Spreecast.

You can watch the full conversation here:

And Google Glass is hot! Word about its mind-blowing, futuristic features is spreading like wildfire, thanks largely to the efforts of Google Glass’s elite, hand-picked ambassadors, the Glass Explorers.

But is it really safe or even legal to use while driving?

Cecilia Abadie thinks so. When she was ticketed for wearing Google Glass while driving, it was such an interesting and thought provoking legal issue that Michigan Auto Law posted two blogs  addressing whether using Google Glass amounted to “distracted driving” and whether it was legal to use Google Glass while driving in Michigan.

We got some great insights and responses back, especially on Twitter.

  • Does #driving with #GOOGLEGLASS = #DISTRACTEDDRIVING? #GlassExplorers #ThroughGlass http://bit.ly/1cKkJRC
  • Are there any #GlassExplorers in #MI who, like @cabadie in #CA, were ticketed for using @googleglass while driving? http://bit.ly/1gDmyjU

This  prompted insightful and thoughtful comments from the following Michigan-based Glass Explorers:

  • Jake Steinerman
  • Andy Ninh
  • “Keegan”
  • Eric Kunnen

Glass Explorer Jake Steinerman (@jsteinerman) tweeted the following on November 12, 2013:

  • “Yes, I wear it all the time when I drive. I’ve used it for directions. I don’t find it distracting at all.”
  • “I think it’s way safer than GPS. It keeps [your] peripherals on the road while [your] dash takes [your] eyes off the [road] completely …”
  • “Safer than looking at your phone, perhaps. I still wouldn’t do it. Texting is easier too, but your [attention] is still elsewhere …”

However, his tweets were not the first time that Mr. Steinerman spoke about using Google Glass while driving. He discussed the issue in his July 17, 2013, Tumblr post:

“When using Glass navigation … the display shows where you are on the road, and whispers the next step behind your ear, using the bone conduction speaker … The display only activates before each step, or when you tap the touchpad to wake it up. Otherwise, it is off and out of your line of sight.”

*    *    *

“As Google has emphasized to us Glass Explorers, Glass is meant for ‘micro-interactions,’ meaning that you just quickly look up at Glass for a short burst of information, and then go back to what you’re doing. Glass is not augmented reality. It is not meant to be stared at. And, it is not meant to replace your smartphone (not yet).”

*    *    *

“The secret sauce here is that intimate experience that Glass offers – having the instructions whispered right into your head … It is something that allows you to continue to focus on the road, more than you would with a Garmin or smartphone …”

*    *    *

Glass Explorer Andy Ninh (@A_ninhja) tweeted the following on November 21, 2013:

“I’m a #GlassExplorer in MI but have not worn it while driving.”

Mr. Ninh elaborated on those thoughts in his November 21 comment on Michigan Auto Law’s November 11, 2013, blog post:

“I am also a Glass Explorer in East Lansing, MI, but I have not worn Glass while driving yet. I can say though that the device is not distracting, or much less so than a cellphone. Also, the ‘display’ is transparent mostly, and sits just slightly above your direct line of vision. Even still, when you look in that direction, you can still see what is in front of you. The display sleeps most of the time, and as of yet does not display “video” images like watching a movie does, at least not during standard use and I cannot imagine any normal person would try to watch a video while driving through glass. I think that could be a loophole in that statute. I think, though, that I will remain cautious and not wear it while driving. I would hope that regulators would actually try Glass out before making new laws restricting it. Great article and food for thought!”

Glass Explorer “Keegan” posted this comment in response to Michigan Auto Law’s November 11, 2013, blog post:

“I am a Glass explorer from Michigan and have driven while wearing Glass. I can say that it is far less distracting than any other device out there, and a majority of the time the display is off anyways. I wonder if the sleeping display is a loophole for the ‘monitor being visible.’”

Finally, Glass Explorer Eric Kunnen (@ekunnen) tweeted the following on November 15, 2013:

“Good post on Google Glass & driving. Seems similar to having a GPS on your dash yes or no?”

Michigan Auto Law thanks Glass Explorers Jake Steinerman, Andy Ninh, “Keegan,” Eric Kunnen for their willingness to share their experiences and thoughts about using Google Glass while driving.

As for the rest of the Michigan-based Glass Explorers out there, I hope that we will hear from you soon.

Please share your experiences and thoughts about using Google Glass while driving on Michigan Auto Law’s blog posts or on Twitter, Google +, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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