The Future Of Automobiles: Unintended Side Effects
Innovation has always been a part of the auto industry, but the future of automobiles may bring about some unintended side effects. Everyone from Tesla to Ford to Google – even Domino’s Pizza – is getting into the smart car game, but will it hurt more than it helps?
Driver Assist Features
No one is arguing that airbags are a mistake, but a lot of the high-tech safety features coming out these days do a heavy amount of hand-holding. Driver assist features are taking more of the responsibility for checking blind spots, staying in lane, keeping away from other vehicles, and even pumping the brakes.
This does plenty of good, but it also may be making you a worse driver as those skills wither. It’s not hard to look over your shoulder to check your blind spot, but you might not if you become dependent on your car’s tech. These assist features should be there to assist you, not take all the work of driving away. One glitch and you’re blindly merging into a tractor trailer.
Smart Car Distractions
When self-driving cars are the norm, how focused can a driver possibly be?
As we hand more control over to our smart cars, we’ll fill our ride with more distractions. Who wouldn’t love to get some work done, watch a movie, or surf the web while their car takes them where they want to go? That’s the whole selling point in the end and people are sold on it.
GM, Nissan, and Tesla are among the auto giants that are pulling back or restricting some of the hands-free tech they’ve been touting. Eye-tracking, hands-free time limits, and more to curb the potential abuse of their new systems.
Don’t forget that a lot of the tech from assist to full-blown self-driving works a hell of a lot better in ideal conditions, not rain and snow. Unfortunately, even though the tech is still in its infancy, we’re jumping at the chance to take our hands off the wheel. When that happens, we’ll just be along for the ride.
Is There Room For Auto Enthusiasts?
A lot of the self-driving prototypes we’re seeing have no pedals and no steering wheels. Where’s the fun in that? It’s not like traditional cars will just disappear with all this innovation, but we’ll likely see less and less as self-driving cars become the norm.
There may be less space on the road for people who just love driving a normal car. The auto enthusiast community may grow to include people who not only enjoy tweaking their ride, but those who want to retain control. Imagine a Blade Runner world with a “Manually-Controlled Vintage Auto” subculture.
This isn’t meant to scare you, though. We’re heading towards some interesting things, but we have to pay attention in spite of all the mind-blowing, futuristic technology. One step at a time.