Been hitting the McDonald’s drive-thru one too many times the past few weeks? Does your passenger seat have more crumbs than the floor of your average Dunkin Donuts after a bunch of snot-nosed schoolkids come in for a sugar high?
You’re in dire need of an intervention, my friend, and it comes with a smart vehicle device that can be added to any vehicle, from new Chevy vans for sale to used Ford Thunderbirds.
The device requires professional installation and cannot be removed without help. It’s a completely foolproof method for stopping your penchant to eat between meals. In fact, you aren’t even allowed to drive if you’re nibbling on so much as a Starbucks gluten-free biscotti.
If you’re ready for something to really work, it’s time to read more about this novel approach to weight management, vehicle style.
Stopping Overeating in Its Tracks
One of the biggest risks for any person who eats in the car is overeating. The solution? Stop any eating at all. But that’s easier said than done.
How many of us have idly munched on a pound-bag of potato chips during a long haul to visit a relative or while stuck in traffic? In a matter of minutes, gobs of grease are settled in your stomach and you’ve just set back your fitness goals by months.
The new smart device senses when food is open and in the vehicle. Using special sensors that detect millions of types of aromas, the car can immediately notice if food is anywhere near the driver’s seat. At the same time, cameras embedded around the cabin of the van, minivan, car, or truck “see” common pieces of food, labeled boxes, edibles’ bags, etc. The software utilizes big data to determine a French fry from a thick pencil, and in tests, it had a 99.8 percent success rate.
What happens when the software detects food in the car? Essentially, everything shuts down. You could be in the middle of the freeway, and your vehicle would slowly lose all locomotion. Until you tossed the open food out of the car, you couldn’t restart it, get the automatic windows to operate, or even listen to the radio.
While some drivers might find this type of inconvenience annoying and even angering, they usually don’t mess with the system more than once or twice. As one of the inventors of the smart device mentioned during a podcast about the product, “Most people respond unfavorably to the idea of being totally unable to operate their vehicles. At that point, they have a choice: Continue to eat, or give up their poor habits. In our experience, about 90 percent opt for the latter. The other 10 percent are hard as nails. They probably won’t change at all.”
Ironically, having groceries in the back trunk poses no risk that the sensors will go off. As most people grocery shop on a regular basis, and may even have opened foods in their trunk or foods that have spilled from their containers, this is a boon to users. The sensors have not been designed to monitor the back area, and are totally focused on the driver. This means that anyone seated in the back can comfortably nibble and nosh during any ride.
Safety Risk? Or Overcoming Other Risks?
A huge argument against the smart device is that it leads vehicles to be non-functional suddenly. Concerned citizens have brought up the safety hazards that this could cause, especially if the vehicle is flying along at a high rate of speed. However, manufacturers of the device assure everyone that the drop-off in power happens rapidly, but gives the driver enough time to get to a safe spot.
Plus, the smart device’s engineers are quick to add that the device helps avoid known safety problems that are a direct result of eating while driving. Along with texting and talking on the phone, eating causes plenty of accidents that could otherwise be avoided. Having a smart device monitoring the food situation in the vehicle keeps drivers more alert and focused on the road, thereby heightening their ability.
What About Coffee? The Debate Continues.
Because some drivers can’t seem to live without their coffee kick, the smart device makers are tinkering with an upgrade that will allow drivers to have coffee with non-fat milk and artificial sweeteners in the cab. When the drivers bring the coffee into the vehicle, they must dip a special sensor into the coffee, which will then allow them to operate the vehicle without interference. The upgrade is a costly one at around $249 but might make sense for some obese professionals who are in their vehicles for many hours at a clip.
At the same time, this black-or-non-sweetened-coffee-only mode may not bode well with the group addicted to sugary Starbucks favorites like sweetened lattes. Those drinks would never pass the muster with the sensor device and would stop the driver from being able to drink up and drive simultaneously. The same is true with any kind of soda, even diet sodas which, although calorie-free, still trip the sensor and cause the vehicle to become inoperable.
Another glitch seems to be whether or not passengers could surreptitiously pass food from the back seat to the driver out of view of the sensors. In some experiments, testers have been able to bypass the system creatively. Yet their maneuvers require such deviousness and planning that the device makers are certain that no one will go to great extents to feed overweight drivers. “It’s just not realistic,” says one of the founders of the device. “Besides, solo driving is quite common. How often will you really have someone in your backseat who is willing to sneak you a piece of candy at the risk of the van or car suddenly stopping? Not many, that’s for sure.”
For people who have tried everything else to stop munching while they’re at the wheel, the device could be exactly what the doctor – and the mechanic – ordered.