With the Chicago Auto Show coming up, I am thinking about tech and cars. I have to skip the show this year for the first time in a few years, but I am still following along with what’s happening.
Tech has improved every aspect of our lives. But in the world of driving is it making things worse? No, not really. However, you might not appreciate the impact of technology as much. In fact, it seems that every piece of tech released relating to vehicles, is designed purely to take control away from the individual in the driver’s seat. Using automated technology and clever AI, cars of the future may no longer be affected by the person behind the wheel. This can be a bad thing. I mean think about it… how many of us would actually pass an impromptu driver’s test right now? It’s been so long since we had Driver’s Ed that it is easy to forget how to state some of the official rules, although you do them naturally when driving. And tech may be making this harder.
Look Ma! No Hands!
Last year, BMW introduced a revolutionary piece of tech to their car. It allows you to control the vehicle without turning knobs or switching gears. So, essentially, if you waved your hand, you could indicate without touching anything. If you look at something like a free DMV permit practice test, you’ll see that gestures and signals are a huge part of learning to drive. But obviously, this tech will change that soon. Right now the tech is only available from BMW, but you can bet other manufacturers are already working on their own version. It is probably just a matter of time before things like signaling are automatic and you no longer need to multitask driving a car.
If you buy a new car this year, you’ll probably discover it has an awesome and incredible feature. The car will unlock as you get close enough to it which we agree is very practical. Just think about how much easier it will be to put the shopping away. You might have seen this feature advertised on the latest episode of the Grand Tour. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it is clearly going to make interacting with a car a lot more automatic. In fact, these days you can buy one that doesn’t have a key at all.
Anyone who has ever seen the film I, Robot might remember the self-driving cars. At the time of its release, this tech hadn’t even started development. But in 2017, it is estimated that there will at some point be 100,000 cars on the UK roads alone. While this is both impressive and noteworthy, we do have to put it into perspective. These cars will not be able to drive at full speed. They will, however, be able to cruise quite happily at around 40mph. Some drivers might embrace this tech as it will mean that you can essentially go to sleep on your commute to work around the city. But, it does point to a worrying trend in the future.
You see, all this technology is leading to the point where we will no longer be able to drive at all. Instead, the tech in the car will do all of the work for us. One of the joys of driving is cruising down the highway with a car in our full control. But in just a few years that may no longer be a possibility. After all, it is a possibility that the tech that we are talking about will eliminate car crashes completely. When we reach that point, driving as we know it today will probably become obsolete and perhaps even illegal.