Just when you thought the assault on texting while driving was well under way, a new distraction has popped up that is likely to give privacy advocates a conniption.
General Motors’ China R&D director John Du, speaking at the Telematics Detroit 2014 conference, revealed a prototype mobile app that would allow drivers to scan a license plate and connect to the owner’s cell phone. The app, called DiDi Plate, uses an Android phone’s camera to scan the the license plate, which then sends the data to a cloud ID service. The driver can then commence texting to the other driver.
Says Du, “Even if the other driver didn’t register this app, you can still give them greetings and comments.” Or epithets.
Computerworld.com reports that China’s has a street address system that has no format and nearly a dozen language dialects, requiring creative solutions to problems we don’t have in the West. Since necessity is the mother of invention, the DiDi Plate app is one of the offspring. Du’s team even adapted the app to work with Google Glass—just stare at the plate and it scans and brings up the person’s online profile.
Du says the primary issue moving to the production stage is not the ACLU (at least for the States) but, rather, General Motors wants this and similar apps to be proprietary and embedded in a vehicle’s infotainment system, so a smartphone app may not be in our future.