New in-car technology promises to banish bad driving
According to a recent article in the Times Online, the creators of a new 'artificial intelligence' style car safety device have signed a multi-million pound deal with several European governments to run trials.The Cohda intelligent transport system uses a GPS locator and a chip that allows cars to communicate their speed and location to other similarly equipped vehicles within a 500ft radius. Its makers (Cohda Wireless) say it can detect the potential for a collision, then will give a warning or even take over the controls if the driver's reactions are too slow.The first versions will tighten seatbelt tension and intensify braking pressure to prepare for a crash. But the ultimate design is intended to include steering control, autonomous application of the brakes and even lowering a shield over the windscreen to prevent a panicking human from seeing what's about to happen.This new system is the latest in a number of devices being developed around the world to combat the damaging effects of judgement errors, lack of concentration and wilful law-breaking on the roads. Lane departure warning systems are now being introduced to stop drivers drifting out of their lane on motorways, and automatic speed-limiting devices will be installed in a fleet of cars in London this summer for a study to prove the effectiveness of the technology.So will future drivers need to pass a driving test at all, or will their car do all the work for them? Road fatality statistics in the UK still make for grim reading, despite the introduction of more speed-curbing measures, so should any new way of minimising accidents be welcomed, even if it means depending even more heavily on our on-board computers?Just like many new advances, this development has its pros and cons. It could prevent thousands of deaths, as long as we don't forget how to react properly when our techno-car needs re-booting. Will it just make us lazy drivers, with no sense of responsibility for our actions behind the wheel? Do let me know your thoughts on the subject.