Car Tech Taking Over

There’s no doubt that technology is making our vehicles more complex. But is technology infiltrating our vehicles too fast and is it all just too much?

There’s no doubt that technology is making our vehicles more complex. From interactive touch screens and car-specific apps to system monitoring and one button live assistance, car tech isn’t just moving forward, it’s running at a brisk pace. Each new model year brings the latest advancements and soon humans many not even be required to drive. But is technology infiltrating our vehicles too fast? Is all this new technology just too much for drivers?

One thing that car technology has the potential to do is make cars safer on the road by taking out some of the human error. On Monday the Obama administration took its first step toward requiring future cars and light trucks to be equipped with technology that will enable them to warn each other of potential danger in a timely manner to avoid collisions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated it will begin drafting rules to require the technology in new vehicles and estimates that the tech could prevent 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year.

In this instance, the specific car technology the NHTSA is looking at uses a radio signal to continually transmit a vehicle’s position, direction heading, speed and other information. Vehicles equipped with these signals will be able to receive the information and alert drivers to an impending collision.

According to the Joan Lowy of the Associated Press:

A car would "see" when another car or truck equipped with the same technology was about to run a red light, even if that vehicle were hidden around a corner. A car would also know when a car several vehicles ahead in a line of traffic had made a sudden stop and alert the driver even before the brake lights of the vehicle directly in front illuminate. The technology works up to about 300 yards (275 meters) away.

Safety isn’t the only thing pushing car tech forward. Starting in September, Corvettes will have an optional valet model so owners can keep track of their vehicle and insure there’s no unauthorized use. The feature records where the car goes with a camera mounted in the windshield trim and also captures audio in the cabin, as well as speed, engine revolutions per minute, gear position and G-force. Essentially, this tech allows the car to tattle on valets that don’t take a slow, direct route to a parking space.

While this might be appealing to Corvette owners, it’s not the first vehicle with this type of technology. AP Auto Writer, Tom Krisher reports that Hyundai and Mercedes offer "geofencing," a feature that sets a perimeter and then notifies the owner's smart phone if a car goes beyond it. Chrysler has a valet mode that caps engine speed and horsepower, while Audi lets owners limit engine speed for valets.

What do you think?

Are these good editions to vehicle technology or will we be less focused on the road? Will cars have to “boot up” before driving? Should we have to be concerned about a crashing car computer system or hacking? Is car technology just a great way to reduce human error on the road? Is it already too late to hit Ctl+Al+Del? 

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