Wearable gadgets now making their way to car industry

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With almost 54 million wearable devices shipped in 2013, according to analyst firm ABI Research, it is no wonder that wearables have grabbed the attention of the automotive industry.

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The first commercial launch will be in 2015 from Hyundai Genesis which will be compatible with the Google Glass. Furthermore, several OEMs have been demonstrating smart watches, including GM, Volvo, Nissan, Mercedes, and BMW.

The success of wearables in the car depends on whether they can add additional value and complement smartphones in specific applications, said ABI.

Many of the market drivers include compelling use-cases such as last mile navigation from Sony SmartWatch and Garmin, driver wellness and fitness from Nissan Nismo, and remote applications such as remote locking/unlocking, providing a cross device infotainment experience and ultimately giving drivers an ?advanced driver experience?.

Even with the success of wearables in the consumer market, ABI noted that it would be foolish to ignore the issue of driver distraction and how this factor alone could spell the end of wearables-in-the-car dream.

Through the head unit display, however, drivers need never look at their watch whilst driving. The bigger dispute is in regards to wearing a pair of smart glasses whilst driving.

Many would argue that it is completely absurd to obstruct a driver?s vision in such a way; equally it has even suggested it could make driving safer as drivers can be warned of dangers ahead.

Filomena Berardi, senior analyst at ABI, commented, ?Many still remain skeptical of wearables in the car; however, ABI Research feels that as wearables are physically worn by the driver, specific applications such as wellness are quite compelling and offer drivers something quite unique. Assuming their success in the consumer market, ABI Research believes by 2023 as many as 23 million cars will support smart watch integration.?

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