Ten years ago if someone told you that driverless cars could be a reality or electric vehicles could be profitable or maybe that space exploration could be privatised – you would think of how your great grandchildren would enjoy the privileges of such an era.
Well, the world today is witnessing something like an amplified version of Moore’s law. Innovation is happening at breakneck speed and things that at some point of time seemed weird and impossible are turning into reality. One such concept has been introduced by Audible Inc (from Amazon) in their patents. You can get access to these patents from here and here.
Common in-vehicle entertainment systems are passive in nature and generally consist of a radio or an audio-video system that the driver can occasionally glance at. The concept of an interactive gaming system for the driver has remained buried for a long time considering distraction and road safety.
But with technological advances and accurate quantification of risk, these buried ideas can be brought to surface. And that is what Audible Inc. is doing. The company claims to have developed a system that can introduce gaming for a car driver while driving the car. Yes, you read that right.
The game could either be hosted on a remote server that would communicate with the system in the car or locally on the system in the car itself. The gaming console may be controlled by touch, voice or gesture. For example, of a game that asks trivia questions, the driver could interact with the system in any of the above mentioned ways.
Additionally, interaction with devices like smartphones could also be facilitated – each user could have their own display and interface as well.
A distinguishing feature of this system is the dynamic driver distraction reduction system – which is probably the first thing that would come to anybody’s mind. The game-play and content in terms of difficulty and engagement could be controlled by a number of factors – traffic and weather conditions, identity, expertise and history of the driver, speed, location etc.
Based on these above mentioned factors gameplay would be modified to ensure safe engagement levels and minimize distraction. For example, a driver who has a faulty history would be given the lower difficulty only through the voice mode for lesser distraction.
The In-Vehicle Gaming system is Multiplayer
Another feature which the patents mention would be including other passengers in the vehicle in gameplay. The involvement of a driver could be adjusted dynamically according to external conditions for minimum distraction.
The in-vehicle gaming system is capable to differentiate between two game players by his or her position in the vehicle; by the way his or her seat is adjusted, by his or her height or weight. It can also recognize them through facial recognition or voice recognition.
Moreover, the in-vehicle gaming can have multiple players competing with each other from different vehicles simultaneously. The boring commutes will be transformed into fun. Additionally, if a vehicle has multiple players then they can play as a team against a team of another vehicle.
Type of Games Presented by In-Vehicle Gaming System
Your regular road trips are going to get even more interesting. Imagine the common radio and other in vehicle entertainment systems, giving way to a game that is ten times the fun. We’ve listed out a few possibilities here:
1. Trivia quiz: A simple integration of the gaming system with GPS could generate a quiz with questions like “What was the name of the intersection you just crossed? ” or “How far from here is city X?” or “Can you guess your current speed without looking at the speedometer?” or “What is the birthday of your Wife?”. These questions could be related to the trip itself, thereby engaging the driver more with the driver and the vehicle.
2. Safe and comfortable Driving: The GPS and the speed monitor could be used in conjunction to check the driver’s adherence to road safety rules. Points would be awarded for the same and penalties for defaulting. Gamification of safe driving could be revolutionary. It could greatly reduce road accidents. Long trips could also be timed and gamified while adhering to speed limits. Similarly, the user’s driving could also be graded according to specific parameters like speed while negotiating turns or going over speed breakers slowly and smoothly.
3. Scavenger Hunt Games: Scavenger hunts could be integrated with driving. A typical car-scavenger hunt game would require the driver to drive to specific locations, for example the parking lot on the first floor of a building or check in at a particular location in the countryside. Points would be given for completing such targets. The one who completes first and gathers the most points would win.
4. Fuel economy: Drivers could also score on the basis of their fuel economies over a long trip or over an extended period of time. Of course the ones who maintain optimum speed with minimum extremeties on their speed time graphs would win. It would also promote sensible driving and discourage people from accelerating too hard. It would be fun to complete with your parents on this game.
5. Play with your Office colleague while driving to the office: Imagine your boring daily commute to the office being transformed into a fun filled activity with everyone who works with you playing the same game while travelling in their own cars. The game could be anything – a multiplayer poker game where even the driver could participate or a race on who comes out of the traffic faster. Those Monday mornings won’t be that bad anymore.
6. Continuing games: How many times have you had to end an interesting game because you had to start a trip or drive down to meet someone. Well, not anymore; a range of games like Guess the song, Solitaire etc. could be played while driving as well using this technology.
Boring and mundane travel could suddenly become brightened up. People would look forward to long drives even more than before. Family trips are going to get even more interesting.
Talking about the future and sustainability, the gaming industry is nearing close to $100 billion and growing very furious pace if recent reports are to be believed. As lifestyles get better with technology, the market for such entertainment is surely steady north.
The only challenge here would be the accuracy of the dynamic distraction reduction system. It’ll have to be absolutely perfect to ensure ready acceptance. Do tell us your views in the comments below.