CES 2012: Escort lets you avoid fines using the cloud

Memeburn recently wrote about Ford’s vision for a future in which cars have permanent cloud connectivity. Today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas we learned that real time cloud connectivity in your car isn’t some distant vision of the future. It’s here now and ready to go. At least that’s according to John Larson, president and CEO of Escort, a company that produces peripheral devices for your car.

One of the company’s flagship products is called Escort Live, and is designed to protect you from the curse of drivers everywhere: traffic fines. It does this by letting you know which areas are known to be high risk fining zones. “So what?” you might say, my GPS unit already does that. There’s one significant difference between Escort’s product and your GPS though. Escort Live connects with all the customers signed up to the company’s service. This means you have relevant, real-time information about speed traps in the area you’re driving in, so long as other Escort Live users have been past them.

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What this amounts to, essentially, is a social network for avoiding traffic fines. Granted, you can use more traditional social networks like Twitter for the same purpose, but you’re wholly dependant on other people and your own memory for that.

Escort Live brings, the smartphones and radar detectors of all its users together, using the cloud. The radar detection device is connected to the cloud using a smart cord, which retroactively reprograms every device made in the past five years. All the information from your radar detector, and all the other radar detectors out there is then fed to your smartphone using a free app. The app is compatible on all iOS devices and around 80% of Android devices. It’s also geosmart, so it includes your real-time speed and a map mode that brings up a Google map of your immediate surroundings, including audio-visual alerts about stationary and manned trapping areas.

Larson reckons his company’s product is just an evolution of common courtesy we’ve always shown other drivers on the road when it comes to spotting traffic cops — from flashing our headlights to the CB radio days of “breaker breaker, there’s a smokey around the corner”.

Using much the same technology, Escort has also built Quick Start, an app that allows you to remotely start and track multiple vehicles using your smartphone.

Anyone who scared of future with this kind of technological capability in it, should start quaking in their boots right about now.

Stuart Thomas attended CES International 2012 courtesy of Ford

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