Kee is an in-car stereo system that will prevent automobile accidents caused by driver distraction by taking cell phones out of the driver’s hands. Upon entry into the vehicle the drive must insert their phone into the unit before the vehicles ignition system becomes active. Once the vehicle’s engine is started the connected phone enters ‘car mode’. Car mode disables the phones touch screen and holds all calls/messages until the vehicle is turned off. Kee’s interface is tactile and simplified to include three programmed functions, volume control, and previous/next song. The functions available will be iTunes music player, Pandora internet radio, and GPS. Each of these functions will be streamlined to minimize the driver’s interactions with the program. For example while using the music players the driver can only change the volume and select the next or previous song. This is a designed interaction that will enable the phone to be used while driving safely.
Kee was developed in response to the alarming research concerning distracted driving that is surfacing in the mass media. It is unquestionably agreed that driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, new data suggests that driving while using a cell phone is just as dangerous than driving intoxicated. What is even more alarming is the youth of the United States are increasingly inseparable from the phones. Teens have admitted to texting while driving more than any other demographic. This behavior must be addressed in the youth before it can be considered the normal behavior for their and future generations. Currently state governments have started to realize the problem and are addressing it through legislation. However legislation is a passive, ineffective attempt in changing the behavior of drivers because it is so difficult to enforce. An effective solution needs to actively take the phone out of driver’s hands and create incentive to keep it out of their hands.
Our concept evolved from our problem statement: to change the behavior of teenager’s cell phone use while driving. Our team decided that the solution we design had to actively affect and change the relationship of the cell phone and the driver. We created the goal of taking the phone out of the hands of the driver. We then explored various technological tools such as accelerometers, GPS speed tracking, Bluetooth, WiFi, and RFID or more specifically near field RFID chips. The disadvantage of these technologies is they disable the phone with any visual feedback of the new relationship created between the car and phone. The advantage of physically plugging into the phone is that this connection is actively visible to the driver and passengers, creating a visual statement of safer driving. In addition by connecting via data ports the phone can exchange information such as music. We didn’t want to just disable the phone, to be successful we had to enable safer interaction with the phone.