Are we having to sacrifice driving performance for technology? Years ago, the big push was for cars that drove better and were safer at the same time. There were huge developments in the ABS field which virtually eliminated many traffic incidents on the road. When breaks no longer locked up and sent the driver into a skid, the roads become safer. On top of that, many automakers went to the all-wheel-drive systems, which gave control of the car to every tire, and may control much much easier.
Then of course going back further there was the innovation of airbags. At first they were only available to the driver, but then the integrated into the passenger side. And even later, specific models had rear passenger airbags installed as well. So now, not only was driving safer, but the inevitable accident was not is traumatic as it had been in the past.
Now these days the focus is turned towards more gadgety developments, than the more important driver features. It started with the backup camera. Many cars now have a camera mounted to the back bumper that shows what is immediately behind the driver when they shift into reverse. While this is good to prevent people from bumping into things when they back out of a parking space, it is not a huge safety feature. Any accident at that speed is only going to cause minor scrapes to the body. Many new buyers flocked to such an innovation in lieu of researching the more important features of the car.
The next innovation was the radar that would alert drivers when there were other cars present. If a passing car came within a certain range, the dash would beep, and the driver would be alerted and aware. But that brings up one important question. Aren’t drivers supposed to be focused on the road at all times? I believe that while this seems helpful, it allows people to drift off into thought, and using such systems as a backup.
Now the next push is driverless cars. These will use radar systems and navigation tools to drive the passenger wherever they wish to go. The only problem I see with these, is that the car performance will diminish to make up for the cost of the technology. In which case the cars themselves will be less safe in the event of an accident. I think there needs to be a gradual integration between technology and performance. That will take us into a new era, while at the same time, keeping us safe.