You might know that the Goosed team recently attended the Dublin Tech Summit. It was actually great craic, some great Dublin weather meant the beer garden was mandatory and while that was fun we had more craic wandering the halls of the convention center and chatting with some of the next generation of game changing technology. One of these amazing products that grabbed our attention was Chris, a digital assistant in your car which will make using the phone while driving will become a thing of the past.
Who is this Chris chap?
Chris is a new product which has recently launched on Kickstarter.
Chris looks something like a sat-nav device which mounts on your windscreen and works as an alternative smartphone interface designed to keep your phone out of your hands in the car. We recently caught up with Daniel Meives the head of marketing for this company who gave us the low down on this interesting new product.
With nothing but a phone mount and a Bluetooth connection, Chris gives your smartphone hands-free navigation, music playback and phone calls in your car. He will listen and talk to you just like a friend, controlling your apps and road music so you don’t try too.
The team behind Chris call it a digital driving assistant that works as a secondary interface for your phone designed specifically for driving safety. The graphics on screen are intentionally simple and the interface is controlled through voice and hand gestures instead of touch functionality so you’re hands never need to leave the wheel.
While the tech in Chris is impressive, the set up is incredibly simple. Stick the device to your windshield with the suction cup, plug it into the lighter port to charge and connect via Bluetooth. It’s that simple!
With this offline connection, the driving assistant will run it’s app for navigation, messaging and music playback. The app, through Chris, can warn you of traffic on the road ahead, give turn-by-turn directions and read out short emails or text messages. Chris even has some inbuilt AI which makes it aware of your surroundings. For instance, the device will not alert you of a message until you have finished merging onto a motorway or if you are reversing out of a parking spot. They have create Chris to behave like a passenger, who knows when to shut up while you need to fully concentrate on driving.
How does it work?
It’s actually very simple, Chris works pretty much like Alexa or Siri doing natural language voice processing through your phone’s data connection. The main difference between the driving assistant and a general voice assistant is simple, Chris focuses on driving tasks.
Through a series of infrared sensors you can control Chris through a series of hand gestures. Just wave your hand left in front of the display to reject a call and right to receive. Imagine a country road, every auld fella will think you’re waving to him when really you just want to answer a phone call. The driving assistant also includes four microphones to more accurately understand voice inputs.
It’s literally like an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple Homepod for the car!
Right, so this is going to cost a fortune?
The lads involved told us we should be seeing this in Ireland by September this year, hopefully we can get hold of one for a road test review before then to give you the true user experience. The price that is currently being quoted is €299 which isn’t considering the penalty for using a phone in the car is currently up to €1,000 and 3 penalty points. However, if that’s to rich for your blood go over and have a look at their Kickstarter program which includes pricing ranging from €170 to €215. To be honest this is one of the products that really grabbed our attention, if it stops one person using their phone while driving and makes the roads safer, then it’s worth the investment.