Are Cars Becoming Too High Tech?

Are Cars Becoming Too High Tech?

CNBC reported today that Volkswagen has a new experimental car with no side mirrors, instead it has three screens on board, one for each outside mirror and one for the backup camera.

Call me old school but I like the idea of having outside mirrors that I can see and don’t worry its still federal rule that cars have to have exterior mirrors. Trust me, I just replaced the glass on the drivers side mirror for my brother’s truck, its hard to drive without that reflective glass on your side.

But seriously with now the new rule that by 2018 all cars have to have a backup camera and you have cars from Lexus & Ford that parallel park themselves are we taking too much control out of the drivers hands?

I personally like to drive (no seriously), I never got over being “drive happy” as a teenager and over 20 years later still like to take the car out for a cruise and sitting in traffic is not a big deal for me and trust me I’ve plenty of it. I commuted to DePaul for college, drove to the O’Hare airport area for work from the south-side for 7 years and now have a 40 minute western suburban commute but I like having the power in my hands and feet. I estimate in the past 20 years I’ve driven something over a half million miles, no really.

I understand the advent of technology and making things safer but there needs to be a balance (i.e. a human element), so that we just aren’t driven by a robot.

Not to mention isn’t looking at a screen a distraction? My Chevrolet Malibu does not have navigation and I’ve never driven a vehicle with it and I don’t own a any form of aftermarket GPS (Garmin, Tom-Tom etc), so I’m just used to looking at the satellite radio readout here and there at that’s it.

I get it that lane detection is great but do we need “smart cars”, hell can we afford them? I’ve had my share of accidents, I know sometimes we make errors and sometimes other people mess up too.

But I also know the less distractions in the car the better, if you can just focus on the road and surroundings the better. I used to have my iPod in the car with me hooked up to the auxiliary plug and until I started having problems with the plug and I stopped using the iPod did I realize how it took my attention off the road. I’m now enjoying satellite radio and now burning CD’s again and its great (sounds better too), so I’m thinking this is where simple is better.

Now I admit I do play my music loud but I’m from the old school (and south side), that a car is freedom (remember the old sign at the Chicago Auto Show “In a car you can go anywhere”), so to me being out on the road (or around the block), is a breath of fresh air and a chance to be in control and get away even for five minutes.

And I’m not driving a Chevrolet Camaro convertible, I have a great time in my 2011 Chevrolet Malibu but that’s me. I learned to drive using a stick shift, so I know about “real driving” or as a friends ex wife used to say “A manual transmission is the difference between driving & just steering”.

Maybe I’m a control freak or an old school car guy and don’t get me wrong I’m good with most advances in safety and car technology, especially if its audio related but I think I’m a good enough driver to not only drive myself but park too (I see parallel parking as a challenge and think I’m pretty good at it), so maybe for some additional cameras are a convenience but I’m hoping I can still opt for my exterior mirrors.

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Filed under: Cars

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