Together we can make the road a safer place

badmouth plus – a design fiction
Hypothesis: Cars will have voice-controlled augmented reality apps.

A driver calmly reviews an archive of his own foul-mouthed outbursts to complete the training program of his voice-controlled augmented reality app for tracking aggressive drivers. Language NSFW.

Produced by KS12
Concept: Gabriel Shalom
Art Direction: Patrizia Kommerell
Driver: Phil Barber

Hypothesis: Cars will have voice-controlled augmented reality apps.

Pati’s brother Dominik is an architect in Stuttgart. But sometimes for some extra pocket money he part-times as a chauffeur for sporting events. It’s a pretty cool gig: he gets to drive tennis stars in Porsches and Mercedes. A couple years ago we were home for a visit to Stuttgart and Dominik showed me some of the bells and whistle of one of the chauffeur vehicles. The car had a rear-facing video camera that displayed the view out the bumper towards the curb in a video monitor in the dashboard. Since then I’ve periodically had visions of the augmented future of cars.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. My good friend Phil came to pick us up from the airport. Along the way back to his place, we encountered a truck backing up into an intersection and he exclaimed some sharp remarks about the other driver. In my highly jetlagged state, I found myself kidding around about one of my car AR concepts, a tool for identifying bad drivers on the fly, hands-free while driving. We joked about it for a couple minutes – Phil was enamored of the idea – said he’d gladly use such technology if it existed. Little did I know that our idle conversation would become the genesis for “badmouth plus”.

The Technology

The short that resulted from testing this hypothesis was grounded in real research into existing or developing technologies. We imagine a system that combines the following components:

GPS (global positioning system): locates your vehicle to give geostamps to your data
eye tracking: follows the driver’s eyes to identify objects in the driver’s gaze
– outboard front facing camera(s) and/or LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) + object recognition/tracking: identify and follow other cars on the road
OCR (optical character recognition): logs license plates

We also managed to stay true to our self-imposed constriction of the Minimum Viable Narrative for this project on three different levels:

– we produced the entire piece on a sprint-like schedule, from start to finish in under 2 days
– we worked with the smallest possible team to make the production successful; Pati, myself and Phil
– we kept the storytelling as simple as possible to still communicate the human experience of the near-future; no special effects, just believable near-future interaction

Will this technology come into existence exactly the way we’ve depicted it? It’s hard to say for sure, but our research indicates there are already players in this space (Road Hero and Fail Driver) who might make it happen eventually. Only time will tell.

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