Sat/Nav Turned Nanny?

sat nav turned nanny

From the land of speed cameras and license points comes news that a new generation of GPS satellite navigation systems could be the Next Big Nanny to take all the fun out of driving. The Times reports that TomTom and Navteq are developing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which will take GPS far beyond its current navigation-only capabilities… with dismaying results. The new systems will reportedly tell motorists when to change gear, at what speed to take a corner and even how to drive more economically, while providing 3-D navigation and refined destination-seeking capabilities. Needless to say, the prospect of having a computer yell at you for taking corners too fast on a windy mountain road is hardly the stuff of gearhead daydreams, but as usual a higher power is at play here. Navigation system makers have been dealing with the legal reprecussions of uncritical reliance on GPS systems, such as the woman who got her SL500 stuck in mud when her sat/nav told her that a ford over the river Sence was navigable. By issuing constant feedback about driving style and possible damage to the car’s internals while improving the three-dimensional mapping, these firms hope to prevent future lawsuits. And annoy the hell out of anyone who happens to enjoy the occasional spirited drive.

Join the conversation
4 of 10 comments
  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Oct 27, 2008

    There are times (like the fiftieth late-evening drive back on Ontario's highway 7 from Ottawa to Peterborough: no coffee shops, same scenery, not a lot of other cars on the road) where I've sorely wished for an autopilot. Driver involvement's nice, but if I have to do the drives I've been doing much more often, the next car I get will have laser cruise, blind spot detection, lane-departure warning and, importantly, a "you're falling asleep, nitwit!" system. I'm not bad at picking up on the early stages of fatigue, but I worry for the day my judgement lapses. At least the Fit's seats can be folded into an (awfully uncomfortable) bed. That helps. Sorta.

  • Areitu Areitu on Oct 27, 2008

    This reminds me of that pod thing Tom Cruise leaps out of, on Minority Report. How about offering driving and map-reading lessons? Unless cars are going 270mph on average, I don't see why so many computer aided devices are needed.

  • AG AG on Oct 27, 2008

    If I want to be told how to travel, I wouldn't be driving the vehicle myself!

  • Bleach Bleach on Oct 27, 2008

    I don't see how this wouldn't drastically INCREASE their liability. How many people will be claiming their car told them to accelerate despite the car stopped in front of them? psarhjinian, Man, I hear you on that. Sounds a lot like a stretch on 35 through Oklahoma I used to take. I must have started drifting off around 6am once when I was alerted by another car honking. We both got off at the next exit where I apologized and thanked the guy. He was laughing because he'd been woken up an hour earlier doing the same. My radio was always on the rest of the times.