The iOnRoad app is available for Android handsets and, when mounted to your windscreen, calculates the time gap between you and the vehicle in front. Turn it on and it’ll watch the road, warning you when you’re too close and keeping an eye on the speed you’re doing. It’s free at the moment, so we decided to give it a spin.
During our test it worked pretty well and showed a green line when distances were OK. It’ll changes these distances depending on the speed you’re doing. You can also choose to run the app in the background so that it only warns you when a collision is possible. There’s also an auto-start feature, which starts the app (in foreground or background mode, whatever you set) when you begin a drive. The app also give you “safe driving points” when you complete a safe drive.
Setup is easy. Just mount the phone correctly and ensure that you have a cradle which allows the phone camera to see the road. The app will tell you if you need to adjust the “tilt” – the phone has to be vertically mounted, then it’ll start working when you move off. No internet connection is required and there’s a “snapshot” button if you want to take a picture whilst driving. The makers have also included several shortcut keys so that you can make a call, play music or hop into your normal navigation software.
We found a few tweaks that needed doing before setting off. Here in the UK we drive on the “proper” side of the road, so we changed the setting appropriately and adjusted the measurement to “MPH” instead of some new fangled rubbish called “KPH”. There’s some neat little features though, including the ability to detect when the phone isn’t mounted and a temperature sensor.
We’re assuming that the makers plan to include a “crash video” with this app, which will automatically fire a series of photos or film an accident if a crash is detected. This would be especially useful and there’s a definite scope for a “continual recording” for insurance purposes etc.
We did find a few foibles though. For a start it did need a few adjustments, especially if your camera showed objects further away than they actually were. There’s a number of settings in the options for adjusting when a “yellow” and “red” warning should appear, which does help to some degree, but we found that for the most part it didn’t really replace watching the road yourself. The makers market this as a “failsafe” to help you if you’re “distracted”, but I did find that it didn’t really inform you of issues unless you were pretty much on top of another vehicle anyway, and it depended heavily on how good your camera was. The HTC Desire used in our test completely freaked out when a wet road was combined with sunlight – the app didn’t get a reliable picture and couldn’t process the info. We also had issues with chevrons on motorways – those small markers which space cars apart. These were interpretted as another “lane” and could freak the app out.
Personally, I’d rely more heavily on “Brain V1” and try to concentrate more on driving but, when configured correctly and running in background mode, this does have the opportunity to shout at you if you’re busy twiddling with the radio or distracted by someone in the car etc. This app also goes in direct competition with “Wife V1”.
Link – iOnRoad