Ford Goes Hands-Free, Promising Relaxed - but Not Distracted - Cruising in 2021
Ford brought back the Mustang Mach 1 to offer buyers an involved, hands-on, track-worthy driving experience, but the Mustang Mach-E arriving next year will offer the ability to go hands-off. New hardware and software, combined with extensive mapping of certain divided highways, will see some Ford vehicles gain the ability to cruise without a driver’s hands on the wheel, starting in the 2021 model year.
The long-expected tech addition catapults Ford into the big leagues of Level 2 autonomy, rivaling General Motors (Super Cruise) and Tesla (Autopilot). Like the others, this feature still falls short of any “self-driving” or “fully autonomous” label. At least Ford’s system has something Tesla’s doesn’t.
Chatting Hands-Free? You're Already a Distracted Driver, Says Study
They already came for your cell phone, but a new study on distracted driving could be the spark legislators are looking for to take away your hands-free calling.
Keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road means nothing if your brain is busy visualizing something else, say researchers at Britain’s University of Sussex. Their study, published in the journal Transportation Research, showed that hands-free motorists can miss seeing objects right in front of them, especially when they’re not just pretending to listen to the other person.
Having a conversation while driving creates an epic battle inside the brain, with reality and imagination duking it out for dominance, the study found.
California Court Criminalizes Using Cell Phone While Stopped
In a decision with wide-ranging implications for people who might check their email on an iPhone while stopped at a traffic light, the California Court of Appeal ruled Monday that it was a crime to use a phone at any time behind the wheel of a stationary or moving vehicle.
Three days after Christmas in 2009, a motorcycle cop in Richmond pulled up to a red light and noticed Carl Nelson, driver of the stopped car next to him, appeared to be making a cell phone call. Nelson put down the phone as soon as he saw the officer. Nelson said he was just checking his email while waiting for the light to turn green. The Golden State banned the use of handheld cell phones while driving in July 2008.
“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving,” the law states.
Quote Of The Day: This Car Is Not A Mobile Device Edition
I’m not in the business of helping people Tweet better, I’m not in the business of helping people post to Facebook better. My job is to make sure we keep people safe behind the wheel. I’m not going to deny the fact that people want these things. They do. Especially the generation behind us. They’re used to being connected 24 hours a day.
A car is not a mobile device — a car is a car. We will not take a backseat while new telematics and infotainment systems are introduced. There is too much potential for distraction of drivers.
NHTSA Administrator David Strickland took the war on distraction to the enemy in a speech to an auto technology conference, reports Bloomberg. With nearly every manufacturer racing towards ever greater implementation of connectivity, communication and entertainment systems in cars, Strickland’s rhetorical line in the sand foreshadows a serious confrontation between industry and government. Either that, or this is just Ray LaHood-style hot air calculated to make it look like something’s happening.
Onstar Explores The Line Between Convenience And Distraction
The never-ending tension between the desire to give consumers more choices of in-car gizmos and the need to halt the advance of distracted driving took another confused twist this week, as Onstar announced that it is testing new features that could allow drivers to listen to text messages and update their Facebook status from behind the wheel. According to the DetN, the technology would read incoming text messages or a Facebook news feed to the driver, and could even allow the driver to update their own Facebook status verbally. Needless to say, GM and Onstar are hyping the updates as ways to keep up with Ford’s SYNC on the entertainment front, and because the features are all hands-free, they’re safe… right?