Drivers distracted by the gadgets on their cars cause thousands of deaths each year. To address the problem, Steven Reid, David Taylor, Ryan Kalb, and Patrick Simonson set out to design an automobile dashboard that minimizes distractions by simplifying the interface and narrowing the driver’s focus to the steering wheel and the dashboard in front of it. Their interface won an honorable mention in Intel’s 2012 Cornell Cup competition.
“We want to reinvent the driver experience,” said Reid. “Safer, more efficient, but still have that rich, interactive experience — that’s what people are used to. We’re trying to build that in, but not make it distracting.”
Their prototype, called MetroSwift, allows the driver to easily manage climate controls, entertainment, and so forth with minimal navigation. Speed, time of day, and other key information is readily visible at all times. The team even incorporated some gaming technology that provides feedback to the driver to promote safer and more efficient driving habits. “So if they are driving more aggressively, their score goes down,” said Reid. “If they are driving more safely or more efficiently, their score will come up.”
The team’s invention was developed on a cross-platform framework for maximum flexibility.