August 29, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Two recent videos have shown off upcoming Android apps designed to bring augmented reality to the roadways. Augmented Traffic Views taps into the stoplight camera system in the Toronto metro area to provide traffic updates. It layers the information over the live camera view, so tapping on a traffic light will reveal a live image from that site. The app even includes some navigation features.
Meanwhile, Wikitude creator Mobilizy has previewed Wikitude Drive, an “augmented navigation” app that provides directions layered over a live camera view of the road. It is “fully-functional, map-less navigation” that works with existing navigation API’s like NavTeq and TeleAtlas. Wikitude Drive also supports voice commands courtesy of an additional text-to-speech engine. A data connection is required to use the app.
Wikitude Drive was created to satisfy the curiosity of developers, but I’m curious how practical this and Augmented Traffic Views will be in real life. Maybe it will be okay with a dashboard mount and sensible operation by users, but I get a bad feeling that someone will actually try to drive holding their phone up and looking at their camera. By now, most of you have seen the ultra-graphic British PSA warning against texting-while-driving. Let’s just hope people are smart enough to not create the need for a driving while augmented PSA too.