Automotive App of the Week: iOnRoad for Android
Collision-detection systems that warn of an impending crash are mainly available on luxury vehicles. Or you can add it as an expensive aftermarket option. But a new app that's currently in beta testing will soon let you add the feature to any ride if you have an Android smartphone.
Mount the device on your windshield or dashboard and the iOnRoad app watches the road ahead in case you get distracted or drowsy while driving. Even with other apps and features running on the phone, the iOnRoad app keeps vigil behind the scenes — kind of like a less annoying backseat driver that only pipes up when you're about to crash.
The iOnRoad app uses an Android smartphone's GPS, accelerometer, camera and augmented reality capability to assess road conditions and show the results on the device's display — in case your view through the windshield isn't enough. It shows the gap in seconds between your car and the vehicle in front (no more "one one-thousand, two one-thousand ...") and indicates the reaction time it would take for you to stop. The app also creates a color overlay on the pavement between you and the vehicle ahead: green for a safe following distance, yellow for caution and red for following too close.
If you're tailgating, iOnRoad lets loose a flashing full-screen alert and audio warning to help you avoid rear-ending the car in front of you. Alerts are provided up to 2.5 seconds before collision, and again at 1 second — hopefully enough time to safely stop and avoid an accident. When iOnRoad is running in the background, yellow or red distance warnings are displayed and audio warnings are issued only when the distance between your vehicle and vehicles in close range compromises your ability to safely stop at your current speed.
Now if someone would come up with an app that works in reverse of iOnRoad and warns the driver behind you to stay off your bumper. — Gretchen McFarlan, Contributor