Yet another GPS device?
Not quite, the iSCOUT, developed and marketed by Spade Techs is introducing a new patent-pending portable Head up display (HUD) for automobiles, with the core focus being smarter and safer driving for all:
“Redefine how you drive: view maps, blind-spots, make calls, text, listen to music. Stay connected without taking your eyes off the road”
Sounds like a pretty decent pitch, but it also makes you think: Most of the functions stated in that sentence alone can be done using a smart phone right? So what is it exactly about the iSCOUT that redefines the driving experience?
Visible Interface Regardless Of Lighting Conditions
One major difference between a smartphone and the iSCOUT is its transparent display, and unlike a smartphone where adjusting brightness would be a burdensome issue, especially if you’re driving down a busy expressway, the iSCOUT’s display works using photochromic lenses, darkening for better visibility whenever it may be and allowing for perfect reading in direct sunlight.
Convenient Set Up
Although all you need to do for your smartphone is place it in the phone holder on your window, setting up iSCOUT is also quick and simple, and is said to only take 2 minutes.
Using a plug and play approach, just attach the mount onto iSCOUT and fasten it onto your dashboard. Plug in the OBD II port to iSCOUT and turn the device on. Once initiated, download the iSCOUT app from your preferred App Store and connect your phone to iSCOUT via Bluetooth connection.
Swipe Left Or Right For Commands
No, this isn’t Tinder, but it works in a similar fashion. Since the iSCOUT is connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0/LE technology, it syncs in your calls and text messages and displays them on the screen.
With its core feature being safety, the device’s gesture control and voice command let you accept or reject calls with a swipe of your hand, and you can even compose a text message through dictation, so you still have your eyes on the road and control over the steering wheel.
Now, you won’t have to avert your eyes to see who is calling on your phone to then reach over and either press to accept or decline.
Strategic Positioning Of The Device
As compared to similar devices which are typically placed at the side of one’s vision, the iSCOUT is placed directly above the wheel above the dashboard, so that the display is shown just below your line of sight.
The transparent display as mentioned before also dismisses worries of vision blockage and makes for a better view of the road with very limited obstruction.
Expressways are increasingly going underground, and with that comes the possibility of losing signal when you’re using a GPS device or your smartphone, rendering assisted navigation useless.
iSCOUT fixes this problem as it comes with offline mapping capability, so even when signal is lost, you never will be.
When you’re running low on fuel, you sometimes don’t have time to wait until you get to a red light or hit a traffic jam to search for the nearest petrol station. However, iSCOUT does that for you, since it’s powered through your car’s OBD II port it has access to your cars information such as speed, fuel levels, milage, engine status, and so on.
It will alert you when your car is running low and immediately direct you to the nearest petrol station via GPS, all of this done without lifting your hands from the wheel.
Blind-Spot View And Dashcam
Now, here’s one thing your phone can’t do – the blind-spot view.
The first of its kind for any HUD, the device can track your left and right indicators which will initiate the respective blind-spot cameras, so you no longer have to look over your shoulder. Lane changes have never been easier.
The need for a dashboard camera, or Dashcam, is increasing with more drivers getting them installed lest accidents happen. With the Dashcam provided with the iSCOUT, your journey is recorded and there is no need for additional purchases.
Staying Connected To Social Media
You will also be able to get access to all your notifications from your phone (text messages, social media accounts etc) with the iSCOUT. Prioritise your apps and customise how you want them to be presented on your display, respond to messages through voice activation or swipe through songs to liven up your mundane drive.
Bumps On The Road To Success?
However, as we have seen before, there might be problems with regard to motion detection and voice recognition (as we have seen in various video games and even with the iPhone – think Siri), but we can’t be quick to judge yet, as the product is still being Kickstarted. At time of writing, it is close to its target of $50,000, standing at a strong $45,626, 105 backers and 19 days to go.
With a Kickstarter price of $269-299, two aesthetically different models (the platinum and the ray) and an expected shipping date of November this year, you could be the first to test out this promising futuristic HUD, where merging aesthetics, safety and navigation has taken a whole new form.