Vivee helps prevent distracted driving

US Telematics recently announced a technology to help keep drivers connected to their messages and their steering wheel. Vivee – short for Voice Interactive Voice Enhanced E-mail – is a new service that reads e-mail or text messages. According to the company, a little animated character or “avatar” appears on the screen of a mobile device and appears to speak incoming messages; meanwhile, hands stay on the wheel, and eyes stay on the road.

“Safety should be our primary concern when driving – that’s what makes Vivee such a remarkable and timely development,” says Charlene Montalbano, product panager of US Telematics. “Insurance studies show that distracted drivers cause 80 percent of all traffic crashes, so several states already have laws banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Now, lawmakers are becoming more precise and targeted in the approach to eliminating driver distractions for drivers by considering laws that specifically ban text messaging and reading e-mail while driving.”

Vivee connects to the Internet through the Verizon Wireless EVDO high-speed network. When Vivee is fully installed in any compatible device – including laptops and USTelematics Multimedia Car PCs – it also brings full wireless Internet connectivity with it, at speeds on par with many DSL services, the company says. In its first release, Vivee is compatible with all current Windows operating systems and the Smart Phone; US Telematics plans to release adapting software for the Apple IPhone by late summer, and a IPhone-compatible version of Vivee by the end of the summer.

Another option for business and recreational travelers alike is Vivee2go, a portable multimedia device about the size of two decks of playing cards. Vivee2go can be linked to Web-augmented GPS navigation and can play music and movies, according to US Telematics.