While this setup could sound like a joke, The Smart Dash app and driver information system -- being designed by
According to the
"We give them a phone and then we give them keys to a 3,000- or 4,000-pound car and we say 'Please don't use the phone,'" Tunmore said.
Anyone who uses a smartphone can use some help in disengaging while driving. The business partners are designing a portable, voice-activated safety solution that will allow drivers to link phone, audio system and a backup camera to a single tablet app that responds to voice commands.
The concept isn't entirely new. Car companies will bundle all these functions into onboard computer systems that can cost thousands of dollars in a new car. Smart Dash, which is expected to
sell for less than
The system will come with one other facet parents will want: driver behavior monitoring that allows the system owner to track other drivers' habits, including speed and maneuvering.
Under development for the past year, Smart Dash is still more than six months from going into production. The transplanted think tank of Great Britons has prototype hardware being designed and built in
The partners have already put about
"Everything that people want from their phone is housed in one app," Britt said.
The technological undergirding of Smart Dash comes out of a powerful GPS motorsports product the partners recently took to market. It tracks acceleration, speed and other statistics racing drivers use to judge their performance. Tunmore, Britt and Pellew expanded on the concept for Smart Dash, adding digital device voice control. Their
Other features will include navigation and real-time weather and traffic reports.
The system connects directly to a car's computer system through a port. Car audio systems are controlled via a strong, local FM signal, while the phone link is made through Bluetooth. Smart Dash is being designed to diagnose engine problems and translate repair messages for drivers, and get repair estimates on the spot. Smart Dash hopes to ink partnerships with national car repair chains to generate those quotes.
Tunmore said Smart Dash is currently partnered with T-Mobile as a cellular provider for its system.
Customers who already own a tablet will be able to purchase the app, tablet mounting kit and driver monitoring for about
Tunmore said the product has a potential market spanning about 200 million vehicles in
Tunmore also sees Smart Dash as a useful tool for commercial fleet operators needing to retrofit vehicles with the driver behavior tool.
Kickstarter is expected to be a major part of the company's marketing.
Set up to raise the
Campaign contributors who give smaller amounts will qualify for T-shirts and other thank-you gifts.
The partners say they will produce all components of Smart Dash in the U.S. Ideally, they will bring software development and other production components to the
More information about Smart Dash and its Kickstarter campaign can be found at thesmartdash.com
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