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Samsung's In-Traffic Reply App Answers Messages and Calls While Driving

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【Summary】When the app is activated, it uses a GPS sensor that’s built into the smartphone to determine if the individual is in motion. In-Traffic Reply works for private cars and bicycles.

Michael Cheng    May 07, 2017 1:05 PM PT
Samsung's In-Traffic Reply App Answers Messages and Calls While Driving

Texting or talking on the phone while driving is highly unsafe, yet the majority of people behind the wheel still do it. City officials around the US have tried to curtail this trend by imposing fines and launching marketing campaigns that highlight the consequences of such activities. Despite all this, most drivers can't seem to put their mobile device down.

Samsung acknowledges the world's strange addiction to smartphones in its latest connected car app offering – In-Traffic Reply. Instead of stopping people from communicating with their friends or family members, the tech giant aims to meet prolific mobile phone users in the middle by automating replies while the car is in motion.

Hands-free Replies   

The app works by responding to calls or text messages using preconfigured replies. Users of the app can setup their own custom message to avoid sounding like a bot. For people who aren't interested in setting up personalized messages, there are default options available. The most straightforward message includes a cold "I'm driving, so I cannot answer at the moment." There is also an option to send an animated message. The replies are marked with "In-Traffic Reply" at the beginning of the message to let the recipient know that the app has temporarily taken over communications.

Users can toggle the feature manually as they wish. When the app is activated, it uses a GPS sensor that's built into the smartphone to determine if the individual is in motion. In-Traffic Reply works for private cars and bicycles. Samsung failed to release a workaround for passengers of cars who aren't driving. In such cases, they would have to manually disable the app.

Release Dates and Compatibility

Going beyond traditional text and phone calls, the mobile app is compatible with a handful of messaging services, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. For now, the app is still in beta mode, as it's being tested in the Netherlands. Samsung didn't commit to a final release date, but the brand did say that it should come out in a couple of weeks via the Google Play Store (no word yet for iPhone users).

"A recent PanelWizard study found that approximately one third of Dutch drivers occasionally use hand-held smartphones while driving a car or riding a bike. Many of the respondents claim that their reason for doing so is related to the social pressure to respond to calls and messages quickly," explained Samsung in a press release.

People who can't wait to get their hands on the app can download the beta version for free online. The app is available in the following languages: English, Dutch and French. There are some minor issues with switching languages and buggy interfaces in the beta version (0.2). It's likely that developers will fix these concerns before the final release.

It's not clear why Samsung developed this app, as there are several applications currently available that do the exact same thing, such as SMS Auto Reply. Private car owners using the Android Auto platform also have access to similar features. 

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