Nissan's new smartwatch focuses on driver safety

The Nismo Concept monitors a driver's heartbeat and fatigue level. It also tracks a car's fuel efficiency and maintenance schedule.

By Julie K Balise Sep 10, 2013 6:56AM

There's a new player in wearable technology -- and it's not who you might expect.


Nissan became the first automaker with a smartwatch design on Monday when it unveiled the Nismo Concept Watch at the Frankfurt Motor Show, CNBC reported.

The watch connects driver and vehicle by providing biometric readings along with maintenance reminders, fuel efficiency monitors and smartphone connectivity.

In the report, Mashable tech editor Pete Pachal called Nissan's efforts "a pretty nutty thing."


But he added that "it seems like Nissan has really targeted this watch at a very specific group, like racers and car enthusiasts, and has tailored all its functionality around that."


Nismo is Nissan's performance arm and includes the GT-R supercar, the Juke Nismo, the 370Z Nismo and Nismo-themed apparel.


Gareth Dunsmore, a general manager of marketing communications at Nissan, said the concept watch aims to make Nismo more accessible.


Nissan will become the first car manufacturer to create a smartwatch designed specifically for drivers of Nissan NISMO cars (© 2013 Nissan)"On track, Nissan uses the latest biometric training technologies to improve the performance of our Nissan Nismo Athletes, and it is this technology we want to bring to our fans to enhance their driving experience and Nismo ownership," he said in a statement.


While the Nismo concept watch may not have mass-market appeal, some of its features could attract everyday drivers, according to Pachal. For example, the concept watch monitors drivers' heartbeats and fatigue levels.


"If you put this in a mass-market device you'd have basically an alert from your watch, whether it's audible or a vibration, if you ever get so fatigued that you might fall asleep, which could actually save lives," he said in the report.


The concept watch also tracks drivers' social media performance on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.


The Nismo concept watch will be available in black, white, and black and red, according to Nissan's website. Its interface can be controlled with two buttons. Pachal called the watch "beautiful," saying it resembled predictions of what an Apple (AAPL) smartwatch could look like.


"It's a very good design," he said in the report. "It could pave the way for some other designs for a mass market device."


The Nismo concept watch does not have a projected release date or price.


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