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Unhinged: When It Comes To Driver Assist Technologies, Say It Plain – “We Don’t Trust You To Actually Drive The Car.”

Unhinged: When It Comes To Driver Assist Technologies, Say It Plain – “We Don’t Trust You To Actually Drive The Car.”

I wanted to be excited for the press release, I really did. There was a teaser image of the upcoming 2019 Shelby GT500, a monster waiting for a crack at the Hellcat and Demon in one shot. There was another teaser with the old Bronco logo, stoking up the fires for the legions of fans who have been waiting decades to see the nameplate return. There was another teaser for a “yet to be named” small off-road crossover/SUV type of thing that looked to be at least partially serious about the off-road part. I wanted to be excited. Instead, I’m boiling.

Those vehicles are part of a push from Ford to revamp the lineup by 2020, which will add trucks and sport-utilities after seeing seven billion dollars of capital raided from car lines. There is a push for more hybrid tech vehicles, which for the sake of fuel economy isn’t such a bad thing (and it has the potential to be something wicked when applied to the Mustang, if the current crop of hybrid hypercars is anything to judge by.) There will be a movement towards full-electric vehicles…blame Tesla for that inspiration. There is work ongoing on the commercial side of the house, including seeing the E-series based vehicles running into the 2020s.

Here’s the part that is setting my nerves on fire, more than the money removed from car lines for the sake of yet more SUVs, CUVs, crossovers, trucks and more trucks:

“All new Ford vehicles will have 4G LTE connectivity by the end of 2019. Ford is also introducing Ford Co-Pilot360, a new driver-assist technology package with standard automatic emergency braking and helps protect from the front, rear and sides.”

Ford isn’t the only company that has basically started treating the driver like a drooling moron. Nissan has gotten into this act, as well and other companies are following suit. Apparently, you need to be protected from every possible angle and the car will save your ass because you are too busy on your phone, or stressing as you drive between your three jobs, or partying it up with your friends to look out that clear glass in front of you in time to notice that you’re about to plow into a 1990s Lexus at full speed. What really sets me off is a quote from Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett: “Our passion for great vehicles is stronger than ever. This showroom transformation will thrill customers, drive profitable growth and further build towards our future of smart vehicles in a smart world.”

No, Jim. That isn’t what is happening. What automakers are doing is further distancing the driver from the responsibilities of driving. The Ford Edge can parallel-park itself. The Super Duty can back up with a trailer attached so you don’t have to do the work. And now, you have “driver-assist technology”. Nissan has ProPilot. FCA is putting assist tech into the 2019 Rams. We have commercials that show Random Driver backing up and luckily, the vehicle slams itself to a stop to avoid running over the neighbor kid who magically happens to be within the path of harm while you weren’t looking. Give me a break.

When do you just give up and ditch the steering wheel altogether, manufacturers? When? Stop pretending that any of these features exist because buyers are excited for new technology and just hurry up and admit that you want to move forward with autonomous vehicles. If these driver-assist features are to keep coming down the line, then why look forward to the future vehicles when they will remove the control from me, the driver, and place it in the electronic hands of radar, cameras and microprocessors?

Maybe the Shelby will be the saving grace after all. I can only hope so.

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8 thoughts on “Unhinged: When It Comes To Driver Assist Technologies, Say It Plain – “We Don’t Trust You To Actually Drive The Car.”

  1. manual labor

    New car buyers don\’t realize their cars are constantly recording their every move, location, speed,passenger load, pedal positions, phone activity, maintenance history, and stability.
    Additionally, your new car can be remotely disabled if the overseers decide that you are out of compliance.

    Since the fraudulent \”stuck throttle\” incidents from a few years ago, automakers, insurance companies, law enforcement, lawyers, banks, and rental companies now have 100% oversight of your car\’s activity.

    Keep this in mind before you decide it\’s time for a \”pull\” on the interstate.

  2. Skeptical

    The world has gone technology mad. The mentality that these people have for replacing all of humanity’s supposed flaws with some progamming logic disgusts me.

  3. Jay

    Millenials expect government to protect them, and cars to drive them. In a nation of wussies , self driving makes sense.

  4. Tubbed Pacecar

    Well, from what I see when I’m out driving, apparently a ridiculously high percentage of people are completely incapable of actually staying off their cell phones while driving, so maybe for them, the autonomous vehicle is the answer?
    But I personally ‘have my head in the game” the majority of time while driving, so I would like to continue driving.
    And even though they say that “distracted driving” (ie: use of cell phones) has now surpassed intoxication as the leading cause of accidents, I predict that within a few years, “computer glitches” in autonomous vehicles will be the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents……
    All very sad….

  5. Dick Sappington

    A spot of (humerous?) prophecy, if you will. 😀

    ….. like a “drooling moron”.

    Sadly, an ever growing percentage of operators (I just can’t call’em “drivers”) qualify thus. And what with the rate of their growth also growing, the time’s well within sight when this “advance” will be a necessity, and (all too soon) mandated. This’ll be followed by the produced need for interactive roadways to complete the package.

    Finally’ll come the exclusion of normally driven cars, first from the highways, then finally from all roadways.

    One day someone in a (government operated, robot docented) museum’ll overhear the comment “Marge, can you believe they actually were crazy enough to operate these things by hand?”.

    But it won’t be heard by me, as it’ll take longer than the fifteen or so years I likely have left.
    Thank. God.

  6. BeaverMartin

    I will only accept a self driving car if it has a bed for me to sleep in on the way to work and mood lighting, a bar and sports center for the ride home from work. Then I can enjoy dodging around automatons at an unadvisable speed on the weekend.

  7. RK - no relation

    It’s true, a high percentage of the cars driving these days are piloted by morons. You see it every time you go out. So this is what we get.

    Getting a driver’s license has gotten easier and the car manufacturers need to sell more cars. If you think thats a coincidence, think about it some more.

    The quantity of driving is up and the quality is down…

  8. Gary351C

    I don’t trust people to drive the car either. I have a 28 mile commute every afternoon, all freeway. Each time I see at least 3 separate rear-enders before I get to work. As ridiculous as this techno-crap is, if it keeps these morons from running into me than I’m ok with it. My ’03 Crown Vic’s only safety net are anti-lock brakes and in the 8 years I’ve owned it they have never activated. Probably because my phone stays in my pocket and I watch where I’m going, I know, weird Huh?

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