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SemaConnect electric car charging stations get their own Google Glass app

SemaConnect, which makes electric vehicle charging stations, has launched an application on Google Glass to make it easier for drivers to navigate to the closest charging stations at a nearby Walgreens or Dunkin’ Donuts.

The app leverages augmented reality to make navigation faster and easier, with users able to locate the closest charging stations within a 20-mile radius. Users can also enable turn-by-turn navigation to station locations and initiate a charging session.

“As a leader in the marketplace for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, our philosophy is stay ahead of the curve from a technology standpoint, and also seek to deliver better ways of helping electric vehicle drivers to our stations, and this initiative is yet another demonstration of that commitment,” said Mahi Reddy, CEO and founder of SemaConnect.

“The big advantage to using the Google Glass is that the user need not take her hands off the wheel or her eyes off the road,” he said. “This enhances safety while driving and provides the user with a significant capability.”

SemaConnect is one of the largest providers of smart networked electric vehicle charging stations in North America. It clients include Walgreens, Cisco Systems, Dunkin Donuts and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Voice commands
The app is driven largely by voice commands or taps with a finger. For example, a driver can say, “OK Glass, Explore nearby” to locate the nearest station, and then tap to navigate to the station.

When a driver gets to the station, then the user says “Control my car” and the station begins charging the vehicle.

If there is a fee applicable, it is automatically billed to the user’s credit card.

Previously, consumers could charge vehicles using the SemaConnect smart card and PlugShare app for iPhone and Android.

The charging stations come with Web-based management software that enables station owners to manage time-of-use pricing, see real-time electricity metering and manage driver usage.

The next step
The company’s offerings of charging solutions in a variety of markets is now further supported by a Google Glass application that makes charging easier than ever before and is viewed by the company as the next step in the evolution of mobile services.

“Today, the smart phone is an integral part of consumer’s lives, whether they use it for calling, emailing, browsing and all of the myriad ways that helps them be more productive,” Mr. Reddy said. “We see wearables as the next step in this evolution, devices that help us be productive and achieve our objectives while being a seamless part of our lives.

“While the Google Glass is still in its early days, and people are just getting started in using this device and figuring out its capabilities, we believe that this device is a valuable addition to the array of devices that are woven into our lives, and because it enables us to obtain information without taking our eyes off the road while driving, this is going to be a great way to deliver useful information to drivers,” he said.

“Helping EV drivers locate charging stations while they are driving and providing directions to get them to these stations and begin charging their vehicles is key to our success as a charging infrastructure manufacturer and we see this as a core part of our efforts.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York