Nissan’s newest version of its Altima model contains some thoughtful engineering designed to appeal to those drivers who simply can’t let go of their smartphones: Through a dashboard touchscreen, the driver can set a custom text message, such as “I’m driving, can’t respond,” that will be sent automatically to anyone who texts them while they’re driving. Similar functionality is built in for Facebook status updates, but reviewer John Brandon says it’s a bit more complicated in that it requires extra menu navigation as well as a USB connection between the dashboard and a smartphone running a custom connection app.
What’s the Big Idea?
Plenty of data and media reports exist that demonstrate the legitimate dangers of using a phone — either speaking or texting — while driving, and as mobile technology improves, more states are passing laws to curtail distracted driving. At the same time, automakers seek to attract customers by finding ways to connect their cars to their smartphones and tablets. In addition to offering automatic text and status updates, Brandon notes that the Altima “lets iPhone users find locations via Google Search, and Android users can stream via Pandora.”
Lee Smolin: I used to think that my job as a physicist was this kind of mystical transcendent undertaking to transcend the daily reality and experience of the world and discover this timeless representation of the world where the truth really was.