Drivetime, a new San Francisco startup company, is positioning itself to make driving more ineresting through hands free, voice controlled games. It is setup so that the driver can respond to questions, while at the same time keeping their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road. This new app touts a free daily game and then charges for any additonal games.
So, the question is whether or not the app distracts driver and causes accidents or does it keep drivers more alert and away from other things, such as texting.
Experts are not totally convinced that the Drivetime app is safe. It is thought that the game would distract drivers in heavy traffic. In the United States, pedestrian deaths have increased by 40% since 2008. Analysts are convinced that smartphones may have been a leading cause to the increase in accidents and deaths.
Drivetime released its new Jeopardy game last week, in addtion to stating that it also had managed to bring in over $11 million from investors. Much of the investment capital sourced from Amazon and Google funding programs. This was a particularly encouraging outlook for this new startup, as both companies have an interest in promoting apps that employ the use of voice technology.
Drivetime already has about 250,000 downloads and is available on both Ios and Android. To launch a Drivetime game, the user must first open the app, look at the screen, and then choose a game to play. During gameplay, it is entirely hands-free.
Drivetime maintains that its product can help keep drivers sharp and that it redirects them from participating in dangerous activities on their smartphone, such as texting while driving. They reference several studies into drowsy driving that show how engaging in a a stimulating function, such as games and talking can improve driver attentiveness. The idea is that stimulating the brain keeps the driver alert, interested, and ready to drive. Time will tell if the app is dangerous or not. It would seem that in certain applications, such as long distance driving in low traffic, that the app would be beneficial in keeping a person alert and engaged. It remains to be seen how the app affects users in heavy traffic.