Cars with an Information Dashboard (to help other drivers)


Driving is something I really used to enjoy. Not sure what happened but I find it little stressful now. I live in Lahore and traffic here is not easy. It gets particularly hard around noon (time when schools or offices are closing). 

At times, people need to turn right but they switch on the left indicator. Other times, people will come all the way from left to suddenly turn to right. You may also find people suddenly slowly down on a quite road when it's not really needed (when you overtake them you see that the driver was using cell phone, hence the slowing down). I have also seen people frequently changing lanes and that's very dangerous if you do that without giving any indication to people already in the lane. You also see come across impatient overtakers who start showing you headlights as soon as they are behind you. People also overtake from left. Not only that it really hurts when you park the car in parking only to come back and see that someone has parked a car right behind you and he's not in the car. Bummer!

So I was driving today and a thought came across my mind. What if we have a dashboard which is visible on mirrors (may be on a rare window) and other people can see some useful data in there? So may be a dashboard can contain the following:

  • It states that the data represents snapshot of last 30 days.
  • It can show some graphs and things like
  • 5 wrong overtakes
  • 5 Overspeed tickets
  • Parked wrong 2 times this month

Of course we can write more there but probably the most critical items show up at the top. Arguably, this help in following ways:

  • It may help other drivers to make better decisions.
  • So when drivers start making better decisions it may help the flow of traffic.
  • So when drivers take better decisions and flow of traffic is improved then we can hope that we see less traffic accidents on the road.

There is a chance that too much information can increase the cognitive load on the drivers' mind. So one way to reduce the cognitive load is that the system only makes the dashboard visible when it senses that driver is trying to do something which is closely related to some of the mistakes he did recently. e.g.

  • If driver has been getting speed tickets then whenever a driver crosses the limit the dashboard should appear. 
  • If driver takes too many wrong turns then whenever driver gives a right indicator and if car is going on right then may be it's time to show the dashboard. Trick will be to show it as soon as possible.

I am not sure about how practical this is but it was just a thought when I was driving back home. 


Note:

Thanks to some friends for reading the drafts of this article.