Thursday, April 30, 2020

Driver Assist

I currently own two cars. One is a 2017 Volkswagen GTI that my wife drives. The other, that I drive most often, is a 2014 Audi. I ordered that car custom from the factory and the only two options I got were the paint (that car manufactures charge for paint drives me nuts) and ventilated, massaging seats. It had the usual panoply of safety nannies (traction control, stability control, ABS). The only other driver's assist is has is blind spot monitoring, which I absolutely love and has saved me a couple of times. The only problem is, I've come to rely on it. Instead of checking my blind spot, I look to see if the car has detected anything there. I shouldn't do that.

One time I was driving in the Seattle area and depending on the blind spot monitoring. Suddenly I realized that somehow it got turned off. I felt lucky I hadn't hit anyone.

I'm not a big fan of most other diver assist functions. I'm especially not a fan of automatic braking which I think could easily cause an accident. I am a big fan of traction control, stability control, and ABS braking. But that's as far as it goes.

But someday I'll probably need to buy a new car. And more driver assists will be standard and not optional. One I think I would like is traffic jam assist which Audi might bring to the U.S. That system, as I understand it, works under certain speeds (like 35 mph) and uses radar to follow the car in front of you and brake when necessary. This would make driving in a traffic jam so much easier.

I'm not sure what will come in the future. I am not looking forward to autonomous cars because I like to drive. But as we move toward autonomous cars, manufactures are looking for ways to make driving easier. GM has "Supercruise" in its Cadillac line. That allows you to let the car pretty much drive itself on interstate highways. Not sure how it handles traffic.

And I think in the future, I'm going to have to learn how to turn off intrusive driver assist systems.

What do you think of driver assist systems? Are you looking forward to autonomous cars? Let me know in the comments below.

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