Car Vs Driver: Who’s In Charge?

3 min read

With technology taking over our cars, driving may become less common than being driven!

Mobile phones these days have access to a multitude of apps that help you with a wide range of tasks, including the monitoring of health and tracking the number of steps you have taken.

Today’s car is no different. Manufacturers these days pack so many driver-assist technologies into the car that you have to wonder whether you are driving or are being driven instead!

One of the most common of these features is the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which is designed to enhance vehicle safety by simplifying the driving process and reducing sources of driver distraction and inattention that often result in accidents.

Helps Overcome Shortcomings
ADAS leaves the driver in charge most of the time. It equips the car with features — such as automatic braking system (ABS), lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and collision avoidance systems — that most drivers don’t realise exist until they’re deployed, somewhat akin to life insurance.

Just like a naggy parent, these systems are there to compensate for the driver’s shortcomings — a few seconds of inattentiveness, dozing off, failing to check the blind spots, etc — any of which could lead to an accident.

The problem with such systems is that the driver often grows over-reliant on them, to the point that they may totally forgo their own driving instincts. These systems are not infallible, and the notion that they are there to replace the driver, determining what to do and how, may lead to even more problems and potential accidents.Leads to More Pleasurable Driving
There are features that make driving a lot more enjoyable, such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), no doubt a boon for those going on long drives. ACC automatically adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front, based on the setting of preferred distance.

As the driver, you are still very much in control, as you can stop it at any time. For those with a fear of parking, Parking Assist offers self-parking based on the same technology as collision avoidance systems. Gauging whether the car can fit into a tight spot may no longer be an issue, but it does take a certain amount of trust in the technology to let it take over.

Maybe what is needed is a fair balance of driver assistance and natural driver instincts. With the large number of bells and whistles that new cars offer, some drivers may end up more confused than assisted. ADAS has proven so effective that many functions have become mandatory for the new generation of cars sold in various regions around the world. For example, all new vehicles sold in the European Union since 2004 must come with ABS. As of now, the functionality of driving assistance systems is limited, which helps keep drivers engaged. It remains to be seen if they can truly take over the driver entirely.

With technology slowly taking control of our cars, it is safe to say that the line between driving and autonomous driving is fast becoming a blur. With the ability to automate many core aspects of operating a car, ADAS is just steps away from driving fully autonomous vehicles. As cars of the future become more connected and reliant on technology, autonomous and self-driving cars may soon become the norm. Driving may then become a less common pursuit than being driven.