Is All New Technology Actually Good For Drivers?

Saturday, 7. May 2011

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.
Schematic of in-vehicle system Intelligent Cru...

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes I feel that technology has gone too far with some safety and comfort features taking over your driving and control of the car. This was illustrated recently when Mercedes had to recall 18,000 Mercedes M Class because the cruise control wouldn’t disengage when you tapped the brake pedal, as it’s meant to. If you’ve driven a car with cruise control it is the thing that you fear most, or is that just me? So the thought of your car continuing to cruise along at 70mph when there is a traffic jam in front might be a tad worrying if you happen to be the one behind the steering wheel.

The cars in question were manufactured between 1999 and 2002 so not exactly new cars but it illustrates why I get nervous when I hear of some advances such as auto braking. Some new cars, including the very latest Ford Focus, will have this auto braking system fitted.

Officially called ‘collision avoidance packages’ by safety testing organisation EuroNCAP they use a combination of radar and lasers to identify a fast approaching obstacle such as hard-braking vehicles or a pedestrian in the road and applies the brakes automatically.

EuroNCAP are devising a rating system to test out the systems and decide how ‘intelligent’ they are. Some systems already in line for testing include Mercedes Pre Safe Brake and Fords Active City Stop (available on the new Focus). The systems will be tested using common collision scenarios then given star ratings.

It would seem that, as with other safety features, there doesn’t seem to be a common standard for these systems which is a little worrying. The example given by EuroNCAP was the electronic stability programme (ESP), some of which work better than others.

The hope by Thatcham and the insurance industry is that this new technology will reduce rear end shunts and thereby reduce the number of whiplash claims but as most of those claims are the result of staged accidents it’s unlikely! What are your views on this new technology? By Graham Hill

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