Volvo to Protect Idiot Drivers From Themselves
Once again, rather than address the problem, an automaker's using technology to try to mitigate the consequences. Gizmag reports Volvo will show a new technology at the Frankfurt Motor Show that evaluates a driver's alertness and reacts accordingly. Volvo claims that "up to 90 percent" of traffic accidents are caused by a distracted driver; so they've developed a system that uses an array of cameras and sensors to determine the car's movements and calculate whether the driver is at risk of losing control. If it decides there's a problem, it sounds an alarm to let the driver know they need to pay more attention to their driving and less attention to their cell phone, Blackberry, DVD player or whatever they're doing. If the idiot behind the wheel still doesn't react, the car will automatically apply the brakes or take other "preventative safety" actions. It's only a matter of time before a lawsuit claims the car should have taken over and prevented the accident while the driver was busy browsing MySpace on his PDA.
Well, this device also protects other peoples, it suits Volvo motto, if you want a car that you drive, and not a car that drives you, just go and get a 70's car ... or any big 2.5's car, same thing. Volvo also makes cars for people who don't like driving. that's one of their main strenghs
It really saddens me to see that it has come to this. I realize that it is no small task to suddenly hold all the nation's drivers to a higher standard, but can't we at least try? I don't like having a computer do things for me, especially when I'm in a 3200 lb. piece of steel/aluminum traveling at 55 miles per hour. Devices like these are symptomatic of what I feel is a dumbing down of our culture. For the past 2 weeks I haven't been able to take a trip without using my horn to rebuke some inattentive driver, many of whom probably didn't even realize I was honking at them.
How in god's name are you going to "suddenly hold all the nation's drivers to a higher standard"? I hope that by using that wording you're admitting that it's impossible to do so--just as impossible as it is (for a wide variety of reasons) to take all semi-blind 90-year-olds off the road, to stop licensing crazed 16-year-olds, to link driver licensing to intelligence testing, to jail manslaughter-committing drunk drivers for the rest of their natural lives and to create a more positive driving environment for "the rest of us" in all the other logical but impossible ways that one can come up with. We need to deal with reality, not wouldn't-it-be-nice. And reality is that as the ability to actively control an automobile declines throughout the populace while the distractions that make car control all the more important increase, we need to find another way to control cars. I'm a pilot, and though I'm not quite old enough to have flown open-cockpit airliners (though I have plenty of Stearman time), I can tell you that when airliners first had enclosed cockpits, pilots railed against the "improvement," saying they could no longer feel the wind on their cheeks and judge whether they were slipping or skidding, couldn't deal with the fact that they were suddenly insulated from so many of the tactile cues they'd used to fly proficiently. Imagine what they'd have said if somebody told them that in not much more than half a century, airline pilots would become little more than systems monitors.
In the vein of the movie "Crazy People" where they gave Volvo the tagline "Boxy but Safe" may I suggest a new corporate motto for Volvo... "F**k Darwin!"