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Samsung’s smart windshield concept is both a great and terrible idea

Samsung’s smart windshield concept is both a great and terrible idea

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We've seen plenty of heads-up displays for cars that put smartphone notifications on your windshield, but not so many for motorbikes and scooters. Well, the Italian subsidiaries of Samsung and Yamaha have teamed up to create exactly that, with their new smart windshield concept placing text, calls, speed information, directions, and more, right in front of the rider. It's not clear exactly how the display works, but it appears to be some sort of projector component installed in the base of an ordinary windshield. We should note again that this is a concept and not for sale — Samsung has done similar things before, such as making trucks "transparent" in the name of road safety.

Safer than taking your phone out while riding

Is this a good idea or a terrible one? It's hard to say. You can argue that drivers don't need any more distractions on the road, and that this is especially true for scooter and motorcycle users. (Per mile travelled, a motorcyclist is 35 times more likely to die in a crash than someone in a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.) On the other hand, it's better that someone glances at their windshield to see who's calling, than grapple with their smartphone while moving.

This seems to be the logic behind the concept, with a press release from Yamaha Italia saying the technology is intended to reduce distractions while driving. It cites data from Italy's National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT) that says that 24 percent of the country's 18- to 24-year-olds have used their smartphones while driving. (The Google translation is not explicit about what types of vehicle this includes, but in the context of the article it's likely two-wheeled, not four-wheeled, ones.) Combine this with the popularity of scooters and mopeds among Italy's youth and you have a dangerous situation, says Yamaha. In this context, offering controlled distractions could be the safest thing to do.