Car manufacturers are struggling to find the right balance between loading up new car models with modern technology and keeping the vehicle safe to operate and free of distractions. We’ve seen all kinds of ideas, from cars that communicate with one another to disabling cell phones inside cars so they can’t work when the car is in motion.
One way car manufacturers have really nailed the balance between technology and safety is with voice-activated technology. Install all the high-tech touch screens you want, as long as there is an easy-to-use, intuitive voice-activation system so we don’t have to take our eyes off the road to use the GPS or change the vent settings!
Another way manufacturers are balancing technology and safety is by incorporating Bluetooth into almost every new car. There is now virtually no need to take your cell phone out while you are in the car, which is definitely a feature we applaud. Make calls, send texts, listen to your music, and stay connected to social media, all through your car’s voice-activated Bluetooth system - and keep your hands where they need to be: on the wheel!
While we think these features will stick around for good, we can’t help but wonder where auto manufacturers are headed next. With endless talk of cars that will “drive themselves,” we wonder just how far this technology will take us. And, is it really safe?
Volvo, leaders in auto safety, is currently testing a technology that would track driver eye movements. When the car senses the driver is not looking at the road, it will flash a series of lights on the dashboard to get the driver’s focus back on the road. Cadillac is testing something similar, which would use a vibrating seat that pulses when the car veers out of its lane. Lexus has a system which monitors the driver and uses flashing lights and warning chimes to regain driver attention, and can automatically brake if the driver does not take control.
From what we can see, these technologies are safety steps to keep drivers aware and focused on the road and could eventually be incorporated into a car that drives itself. Could these be the first steps to creating a car that drives itself and, at the same time, making sure there is a competent driver behind the wheel to take control in the event something goes wrong? Only time will tell… but for now we can put these newer technologies to good use to keep us safe while driving today.