I wonder if there is a possible answer to the distraction problem that is also an itermediate step to automation. There have been recent products and developments in which cars have been sensing impending collision and dangerous conditions. Automated cars would also need this. In addition, there have been other monitors that claim to be able to detect a drowsy driver and wake him up. What if there was some combination of these thing such as a dangerous condition (multiple cars, within X feet, at Y speed) and a distracted driven, then the car could temporarily alert the drive and "pause" the distractions.
I've been reading a broadcast mag from the 20's. In one article they quoted an Indiana police chief as saying that "drivers already have enough to keep up with without now having to pay attention to the "NEW" car radios.
There was a time when auto designers required tactile feedback for all dashboard input - everything "clicked" when it was pushed or turned - a flat, touch-sensitive input could not be considered - the driver needed to "feel" the input without being distracted from the road. Now, distractions from on-board electronics and ever-present smart phones have become increasingly dangerous. In my daily commute, I see drivers drifting from their lanes in heavy, rush hour traffic - most always, with phone in hand! Recently, I was next to a driver busily texting while waiting for a red light. When the driver ahead made a right turn, the texter, thinking the light was now green, proceeded through the intersection. Fortunately, other drivers were able to avoid a most dangerous situation. So, what do we need? Better design, government regulation, or COMMON SENSE!
You have a good point Larry S. Many times, common sense is neglected because almost everyone claims that they know what is right. I understand that technology has been a part of our daily lives but let us not forget that our life is more important than this high-tech stuffs. Just like what the dealer said when i purchse my car at Sandy Springs Toyota, safety comes first.
Driving does not require 100% focus 100% of the time, if it did, we'd have a LOT more than 30,000-40,000 deaths each year. The problem is it requires 100% focus somewhere between 5 and 95% of the time (daytime driving on a deserted straight rural road versus rush hour city traffic). Even if not playing with anything electronic, nor eating, nor shaving, while driving in a low stress envirnoment, my mind will wander or I'll get drowsy. I relish the day when I can put the car on auto-pilot. In the meantime, I am hopeful we will get more partial auto-pilot tech that provides adequate lane drift warnings, collision avoidance, pro-active guidance. When the light turns green... the car beeps you. When the car in front brakes suddenly, it warns you, possibly applying the brakes for you if you don't respond quickly enough, if a deer is detected on the roadside, it warns you, if the deer jumps in front of you, it may take active measures that don't casue a crash (don't swerve into another car, tree, or ditch). Unfortunately, every warning system and active system will need to be perfect or the lawyers will own everything....reminds me of the lawsuit where some lead footed driver is actually suing because they did not get the gas mileage the car advertised to achieve.
A problem will be that it takes longer to wake up from a nap and respond to your surroundings than it does to glance up from your radio dial, so if a car's automation is partial and allows further disengagment, it will need to be able to compensate for even riskier behavior than we see today. At some point, it is probably full automation with government licensing of systems to provide shelter from lawsuits, or no electronics allowing while the car is on the road including local supression of cell phones and wifi networks. Maybe we'll need to wear brain scanners that confirm the driver is alert and focused. This is all about having an nanny state with no personal responsibily and letting the lawyers, not the people, win.
My biggest concern is how the gorernment will react to all of this new tech. We already have no cell phone laws in some states, which I agree with, but knowing the government...I just worry what they might do. For example, if you get into a wreck, using all of your cars knowledge to prove you were in the wrong...or right. It just worries me. "ohh, you were messing with the radio when you got into that wreck"..do we want that? It still may have not been our fault.
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