back to article iOnRoad Augmented Driving

Reg Hardware Car Week Possibly the most - only? - useful augmented reality app I’ve come across, iOnRoad Augmented Driving uses your phone to provide a selection of handy driving advisories and warnings not unlike those provided by the latest Ford Focus. The app uses your phone’s rear camera to scan traffic in front of you …


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  1. JetSetJim Silver badge

    Lawsuit, much?

    In today's litigious society, the first prang with this installed will surely result in a lawsuit saying "it didn't tell me I was going to crash!". A pox on compensation-culture.

    Nice idea, though - am regretting getting rid of the "smokers pack" with handy power source closer to the dash than the one at the back of the arm rest. I need a longer micro-USB cable to mount my GNexus on the screen.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The main safety function is a distance-to-the-car-head warning.

    I've got a pair of eyes and a brain to figure that out for me. What I need is an app that vaporizes articulated lorries which, altough there is nothing behind me, just have to get past and force their way into the safety zone I've left to the vehicle in front so they can just make thier exit, as happened last night. I have recently acquired a dashboard cam so for what good it'll do a video will soon be winging its way to the haulage company.

    1. Natalie Gritpants

      Re: The main safety function is a distance-to-the-car-head warning.

      I would be more worried about a lorry behind me than in front. Their tyres are made of harder rubber so you will be able to stop faster than they can.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Yes, normally I would rather be behind a lorry than in front, but in this example it was forcing it's way through a gap barley wider than its length just to pull off at the exit.

    2. DaveyDaveDave

      Re: The main safety function is a distance-to-the-car-head warning.

      I'm not sure what your point is - are you saying that you'd have preferred him to slow down, forcing you to break the law by overtaking him on the left, just so he could pull in behind you?

      How much would it have hurt you to be a little courteous, and just slow down briefly to give the lorry a big enough gap to fit in safely, until he left at the exit? Maybe he shouldn't have tried to overtake you, but have you considered the fact that it could have been a simple mistake? Maybe he usually takes a different exit, or hadn't realised how close he was to the exit that he planned to take, so mistakenly believed that he had plenty of time to make the manoeuvre?

      Or, and I suspect that this is closer to the truth, given that you're the sort of person who installs a dashboard cam, you decided to speed up as he was overtaking you, just to be awkward, so you could put your shiny new toy to the test, and then rant about it in the comments section of a completely unrelated news article?

      1. Wize


        I've seen lorries do this many a time. Nothing to do with how courteous you drive.

        Anyone exiting the road should be over in the left in plenty of time. There are plenty of muppets in cars and vans who will carve across when they realise their exit is coming up. Forward thinking is not their strong suit.

        To be courteous to them would involve knowing what they are doing before they think of it themselves.

        There are many sensible lorry drivers out there, but also plenty of suicidally reckless ones who use their size to force their way out knowing you'll sharply break rather than become a bug on their bumper.

        1. DaveyDaveDave

          Re: @DaveyDaveDave

          Really? I've done a lot of motorway driving and never once seen a lorry do this. At least not often enough for it ever to register as some kind of problem.

          For a start, the speed limit for an HGV on a dual carriageway or motorway is 60mph and (as I understand it) they don't tend to break the speed limit because their speed is monitored by their tachograph (I could well be wrong here - I'm sure I'll be corrected if I am), so I'm not sure how you'd find yourself in a situation with a lorry overtaking you in the first place, unless you were going along at less than 60mph, which I would argue is far more dangerous than what the lorry is doing.

          Of course anyone leaving the road *should* be over in plenty of time, but guess what, people make mistakes. I'm sure you're right that some people do it deliberately, and it's a bit annoying, but really no big deal. If you're driving safely yourself, it's no problem at all to lightly tap the brakes and make space for the other guy to pull in. Try assuming that he's simply made a mistake, and only realised at the last minute that that was the exit he wanted (maybe he's used to going that way to work, but today he's off to his Mum's), rather than assuming that they're all out to save a few seconds at your expense; you'll find that you're much happier for it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        >until he left at the exit

        Which bit don't you understand. He was on the exit.

        Give him his due he was indicating and I pulled back to give him extra room. It could have been a genuine mistake. I'm not there to enforce good driving. However if it had not been his usual route he should have been taking more care and from the vantage point of his cab he would have been able to clearly see the approaching exit.

        You can pontificate all you want about why I have a dashboard cam. The article was about keeping a safe distance and I happened to have a recent example of when keeping a safe distance is not enough. Where I drive, Madrid, leaving a safe distance is an exception and you need to experience the mentality of Spanish drivers on a daily basis to know that the aggressive action you mention is not worth even considering.

  3. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Big Brother


    So after all the discussion on privacy this last week, we now have an app that needs access to:





    and then stores it all in some web portal

    No thanks

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy

      It not out on Blackberry, so chill the fuck out.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy

      I think privacy is the least of the potential problems raised by this app.

    3. Danny 14

      Re: Privacy

      I imagine an ability to read helps. I dont see half of these permissions in my installation; SMS and email? And im not sure how a map location program would work without GPS or the ability to download said maps. Having a distance calculator without camera input would be tricky.

      Have you considered writing a column for the daily mail?

  4. EddieD



    Nurse - my pills....

  5. AndrueC Silver badge

    Words fail me. The picture stuff might be handy but the idea of looking at or even listening to a phone in order to tell you when you're driving dangerously is awful. They put a windscreen in the front of a vehicle for a good reason.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I cannot but agree with the above posts:

    Wouldn't you rather I was looking at the road ahead and making judgements about speed and distance than peering into a phone?

    Ten out of ten for an interesting use of technology, but minus several million for good sense.

  7. Elmer Phud

    'Oh, it was the SatNav/Phones fault'

    What ever hapened to driving?

    Oh, it's the Clarkson Defence is it?

    "With all these speed cameras and average speed sections and 20 mph zones you can't keep your eye off the instrument panel"

    Funny, I don't have all those gadgets (not even TwatNav) but still I've never been pulled over by plod for a traffic offence.

    Just who or what is in charge of the driving?

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: 'Oh, it was the SatNav/Phones fault'

      This is a pet-hate of mine. Drive or don't. You tell your kids off for crossing a road while looking at their phone, you should tell yourself off a thousand-fold for looking at a phone while driving on a road.

      I have satnav. I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't weld it to the glass in front of the steering wheel, right in the field of view (and totally illegal! People get fines for things hanging from the mirror, for God's sake!). It's actually hanging out of an envelope-shaped pocket under my radio on an L-adaptor so it sits just in front of my gear stick, facing the gear stick. You can't see the screen from the driving seat (so it's actually LEGAL), but it's just close enough for you to plug in a charger and hear it and not get in the way.

      On the once-a-year occasion that I actually need to interpret its route by sight rather than the voice, at a traffic light I can just lift it with two fingers to point upwards, and then replace it. A passenger can operate it fully without distracting me, either. And if it falls off (which is another worry of mine with a glass-held satnav), it falls into the passenger footwell, not my steering wheel, footwell or instrumentation.

      We really need a zero-tolerance year. We'll let you do 100mph on the motorway, legally, but in return we'll take away the licenses of anyone who does 101mph, has anything on their screen in their field of view, has worn tyres, has a phone anywhere other than a pocket, is using one of those emergency tyres or doesn't have working lights on their car on the motorway (I'd let you off on smaller roads, possibly).

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: 'Oh, it was the SatNav/Phones fault'

        My phone just gets charged - not having the lead into my pocket!

        As to things on the screen - can I have my rear view mirror and tax disc please?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Safe driving distance

    How about re-using old techniques

    put two small bits of tape on your windscreen that indicate the width of the average car as seen at the 2second @50mph distance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Safe driving distance

      >How about re-using old techniques

      Just say "Only a fool breaks the two second rule". It takes two seconds to say and if you reach where the vehicle in front was when you started before you finish then you're too close.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Safe driving distance

        Agreed, but the two second rule was invented when brakes were considerably less effective than they are today, so although average reaction time is likely the same today as it was then, you need far less space to stop once your foot hits the brake pedal.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Safe driving distance

          Sorry, but that doesn't wash. The two second rule was to allow you to not plow into the the vehicle in front. Sure, you have better brakes now - so does he. And if HE needs to make a panic stop, he is going to be slowing down much faster now-a-days, so guess what? you need that 2 seconds just as much now as before.

          If anything, I'd argue we need more than 2 seconds now, precisely because of all the things in the car that are vying for your attention. Plus, it has been demonstrated that if people would maintain more following distance, we wouldn't see the standing waves of slow moving traffic - the first person brakes hard, the second can brake more easily, the third just hits the brakes enough to light the brake lights, the fourth just taps their brake pedal and then takes their foot off the gas, the fifth just eases off the gas, and instead of a long-lived clump of cars going slowly (with fresh cars entering the clump, and cars leaving - hence the "standing wave") you just have smooth flow.

          1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: Safe driving distance

            As far as I am aware, the 2 seconds is the length of time it takes for you to stop. I.e. if he stopped instantly, you would stop in time.

            I am not certain of this, so correct me if I'm wrong.

            1. JetSetJim Silver badge

              Re: Safe driving distance

              The arbitrary stopping distance of the 70mph theoretical car that the driving test uses is 96m. 70mph is 31metres per second. So without touching your brakes it will take 3+ seconds to travel that distance. Slowing to zero linearly will give you an average speed of 35mph, or 15.6 metres per second. This gives you a result of around a smidge over 6 seconds to stop (rounding errors likely in the calcs).

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Safe driving distance

      Shame the bit of tape doesnt stop people invading my 2 second space, I tend to leave a 2 second gap but when some idiot steals it I treat them as my buffer as all that happens is you increase the gap and someone else steals it so why bother (Certainly inside of the M25).

  9. Jim 48

    Seems like a half decent idea but my main problem with this kind of thing (and the huge sat navs that you can get) is the amount of windscreen "real estate" they take up. At least with a sat nav it can be tucked in a corner where it's not going to block the view but having a massive Desire HD (which is what I have as well) stuck in the middle in the screen would hide cyclists, bikers, pedestrians etc.

    I might give it a go though if I can site it so the camera can see the road but so can I.

  10. g.marconi

    Front-facing camera at last !

    At last for all those who are confused about the question of which way a camera is looking....this app clearly demonstrates that the front-facing camera is on the back of the phone NOT the little one on the screen-side of the phone. (All cameras use the front-facing lens after all otherwise we would

    all be taking pictures of the view behind us!)

  11. Richard Cartledge
    Black Helicopters

    MOSSAD spyware? Why does it need internet to send your movements 'home' when there is no operational reason?

    1. Peter 66

      because you have the option to upload your data to the website to compare with other journeys, some bean counters like to have excel spreadsheets with this type of stuff. It mentions this fact in the article (the journey logging online, not the bean counter stuff)

  12. Andrew Lobban

    Words fail me!

    This is not a good idea, this is the polar opposite of a good idea. Anything, and i do mean anything that gives reason to look away from the windscreen is a terrible idea. The concept of a hud to project speed and other small amounts of data onto the windscreen serves the very purpose of preventing you from having to glance down. This is not integrated enough, neat enough or useful enough to be anything more than a distraction.

    Sorry officer i hit the back of your car, because my phone failed to warn me quickly enough that i was too close...

    Icon because it kind of looks like the front of a car, a car that id dangerous because the driver is watching a video of whats going on ahead rather than simply looking out the much larger and clearer windscreen!

  13. Paul Westerman

    Don't worry

    I get 'Item not found' in the Market anyway.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    safe distence?

    the thing that drives me into rage more than anything when it comes to motorway driving is the safe distances your supposed to leave... as soon as you leave a safe gap, some nobhead is in it....

  15. Shakje

    Ok, let's get some perspective here

    I fully agree that looking at something on your dash is a pretty bad idea, however...

    ...people use satnavs, they have kids in the back, they hear a noise behind them, they're distracted by someone powering towards them on a bike or in an Audi, there are loads of reasons someone might not be looking out the windscreen, and, while it might not be great to add to those, having an audio alert for that odd moment where you're not giving the road your full attention and someone starts breaking in front of you, then having an audio alert could really prevent accidents.

    Also, why do we put up with people who roll out the tired old "but I'm a perfectly good driver without any gadgets, so what's the point" argument. Seriously, how many times when you've used that argument has someone walked up to you, put a gun to your head and forced you to buy the app? If you don't think you need it, don't get it. If you really don't think that a gadget of any type can assist in driving don't get it, but don't complain about it for pity's sake. I'm also going to assume that you don't need lighting because gaslamps will do? Got it.

    1. Shakje

      Re: Ok, let's get some perspective here

      Just reread this, breaking lol.

      Apologies for English fail.

  16. Peter 66

    This may be a good app for those of us learning family members to drive - my other half follows the car in front far to close, perhaps this might be the gentle reminder she needs rather then me trying to push an imaginery brake peddle and telling her to back off.

    I like the register, its a utopia of the best drivers, programmers, policitians, judges etc etc

  17. jungle_jim

    blocking field of view

    i have never been pulled for having a supercharger poking out of the bonnet or the carb and scoop on top of that.

    that said. forget the excuses. just drive. maybe everyone should ride a small underpowered motorcylce for a year or so. then they might realise how vulnerable one can be on the road.

    (and it will force a little awareness,or kill them. both outcomes work.)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely the app is no more distracting than running a sat nav app on your phone? The review makes it clear that it sounds an alert when you get too close to the car ahead and that it runs in the background which sounds like a rather good idea to me esp if the lane-drift warning feature actually works as advertised which I'm assuming it does.

  19. Ohad

    Hi all, couple of points from iOnRoad

    Hi, i'm Ohad from the iOnRoad team and i'm happy to see the discussion here about iOnRoad.

    Here are some points from my view and knowledge about the app.

    Forward collisions are 30% of total reported US crashes, Distracted driving is another major issue (20% reported), although people do have set of eyes and a brain they still not 100% focus on the road.

    Here are couple of research facts from CDC ( about distracted driving :

    1. Among those killed or injured in these crashes, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries included cell phone use as the major distraction.

    2. 25% of drivers in the United States reported that they “regularly or fairly often” talk on their cell phones while driving

    3. 52% of U.S. drivers ages 18-29 reported texting or e-mailing while driving at least once in the last 30 days, and more than a quarter report texting or e-mailing “regularly” or “fairly often” while driving.

    The Best way to use iOnRoad is to try it in AR mode and make sure it works right, and from then on switch to background mode which pops up with audio-visual warnnings when necessary, there is no need to keep the eyes on the smartphones display


    We do not distribute, share, sell or rent your private information such as your e-mail address or mobile phone number, and iOnRoad allows users to opt out.

    The Drivers Log is available only to the user himself unless one decides to share an individual trip.

    Research shows that early warning systems such as iOnRoad can reduce up to 70% of accidents which goes to show that the "trust" factor in negligible.

    5500 Americans die every year as a result of distracted driving, injuries are X50 that, so in car safety systems are not affordable/available enough today to really take those numbers down.

    iOnRoad is free, it is not 100% perfect but is getting better on a daily bases.

    Help us help those drivers.

    Feel free to ask any questions or contact us with any issue.


    iOnRoad Team

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice features, but pretty useless if you know how to drive and also means you have to mount it on the windscreen.

    Only people driving Micras with their foglights on are stupid enough to windscreen mount the satnav.

  21. Paul RND*1000

    Keeping a safe distance, staying in lane and being in control of your vehicle enough to maintain a reasonable speed are fundamental skills no driver should need help with.

    Sure, we all have some bad habits behind the wheel but if you're so distracted or incompetent that you routinely need an app on a smartphone (or in-car safety helpers) to help you with any of the most basic aspects of driving, you have no business being behind the wheel at all.

    Perhaps this app *can* be used to help people understand when they're driving badly, but I'd suspect it'll be one more distraction they don't need, or used as an excuse to be even more sloppy (the safety devices will save me!)

    Solve the problem by educating drivers properly and making sure those who are apparently beyond educating don't drive.

  22. Jason Togneri
    Thumb Up


    I was going to write a long post about how I'm a good driver, and how I use a sat-nav when needed but don't follow it slavishly, how I know how to drive yet don't mind something just keeping me on the right track (we're only human, after all), and about how this is helpful for even when you're driving perfectly and then some idiot cuts in or whatever.

    But frankly, AUGMENTED REALITY. I want a HUD in my car like a fighter jet. I want a Terminator-style optical recognition and enhancement overlay. I want to be a cyborg. And THAT is why this tech is cool :-)

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