It isn’t even commercially released yet but already governments are discussing how to regulate use of Google Glass. In the UK, drivers using Google’s wearable computer might face the same trouble as people using phones while driving, which is to say, quite a lot.
One of the primary use cases of Glass is indeed for navigation and, unlike regular map apps on smartphones and tablets, Glass displays only a limited amount of data. However, it also has support for messaging, photography, voice calls, and other features that are worrying traffic regulators and lawmakers. Hands-free car technology is already facing some criticism, with studies showing that Bluetooth headsets and voice navigation can be equally distracting as taking a look at phone or tablet screens.
The UK’s Department for Transportation revealed that they are considering laying down the law for drivers using Google Glass. Glass drivers might incur the same penalties as phone-using drivers which include a fine of 60 GBP or $90 and a mark on the driver’s license. Similar discussions and proposals are also taking place in the US even before Google Glass becomes a commodity.
This legal situation could put in an odd position automobile makers who have shown interest in Glass and similar technology. Mercedes-Benz, for example, is planning on utilizing Glass and Android to create a seamless navigation experience for its customers. Other car makers have also scaled back on their touchscreen and voice-driven interfaces, reverting to physical controls or reduced items on the dashboard.