Tag Archive | "technology"

Too Much Of A Good Thing?


Technology is all around us, all of the time. As fast as a new gadget or gizmo is released so it is almost immediately superseded by a new model. How long can we go on like this? Ultimately, there is only so much that technological wizardry can do for us before it all becomes stale and we start to yearn for a simpler time. Cars are a good case in point.

Back in the dark ages of twenty or thirty years ago ABS was about as advanced as things got. The act of driving required of a driver some measure of ability to safely maintain progress without getting into a tank- slapper on every corner or arriving at a braking point in a lock-up slide. Now we have ESP, lane departure warnings and cars that can reverse themselves. Is it any wonder that driving skill is being subsumed by the technology that is trying to save us from ourselves.

The latest piece of kit that is likely to arrive on cars in the near future will replace the good old rear view mirror with a video screen in front of you, using the latest smartphone technology. Apparently, one of the benefits will be to reduce dazzle from high beam lights behind you – and we all thought that was what dipping mirrors were for. It will also help with those cars which have small rear windows. How many of those in common use can you name?

This is something that has come from Audi ’s boffins and it is going to be tested on their Le Mans car. They are not promising anything yet but this could well turn up on new road cars in the near future. It seems that the camera/screen combination will adjust almost instantly to combat blurred images and vibrations from bumpy roads – so that’s most of Britain then. It may well also incorporate other driver information.

Meanwhile, over at Morgan Cars, they have announced their new Plus 8. Unlike most of the bland, complicated offerings from mainstream manufacturers this car has a powerful V8 motor and good old rear-wheel drive but there are few electronic aids. Anti-lock brakes and power steering are all you get for your money. It has proper round dials, round wing mirrors and round headlamps; in short, a proper car that will be unforgiving of sloppy driving. In the middle of the windscreen there’s the bog standard mirror we’re all used to. In a nod to modern times, however, it does get a CD player!

Manufacturers put this techno stuff on cars because they can, not because we need it. It makes motors increasingly more complex and reliant on dealers at ever escalating costs. Repairs are often out of the question as replacement parts are usually the only option and, boy, do we pay for it. It is no good playing the safety card because technology will make drivers more careless, not less, as they let the car do their thinking and driving for them. What’s next for the driving test? Mirror, Video, Manoeuvre?

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