Are Technology Companies Trying To Kill Us?
October 7, 2014
To stay competitive, computer technology companies are always in a rush to come out with the latest and greatest new gizmo that people didn’t even know they wanted or needed. When it comes to motor vehicles, some of the new technology can help to make driving safer but most of the new technology will, in all probability, add to the dangers on the road. Let’s look at some of the latest innovations and how they could impact driving safety.
We’ve already addressed the push by the federal government to develop wireless connectivity in motor vehicles to enable cars to “talk” to each other. It’s hoped that this technology (known as Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication, or V2V) will warn a driver if another car is on a collision path. It could save a lot of lives but that technology is quite a few years away. However, automakers and mobile phone companies are rushing to add wireless technology to cars now; not to keep track of other vehicles other vehicles but to allow vehicle occupants access to the web at all times. The argument could be made that they aren’t advocating that drivers use computers but, human nature being what it is, many will be tempted to use their computers while driving.
With Google Glass, a driver won’t need a laptop. He or she can have access to a computer screen at all times. The inventors of this device say the underlying principle isn’t meant to distract but rather to connect people more to the world around them. Regardless of their intentions, reading emails or viewing stock reports while driving is a major distraction. Google is currently fighting efforts by some states to ban the use of Google Glass while driving.
Apple Watch and Android Wear “wristwatches”
Both Apple and Google are competing to put full computer technology into a wristwatch sized device. Both advertise the ability of their watches to allow the user to receive texts and emails. Now a driver can try to read his or her emails on a teeny tiny screen. A driving safety organization in Great Britain has already published a warning about the dangers of Apple Watch.
Several automakers have incorporated Bluetooth technology into their cars enabling the driver to make hands free calls by syncing the driver’s phone to the car radio,. While at first, this may seem like a better option but a recent joint study by AAA and the University of Utah shows that the opposite is true. The results of their research show that using a hands free phone can be more distracting than just picking up the phone itself.
The best advice remains to put down the phone/ glass/watch and just concentrate on driving.