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Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
1/3/20 5:58 a.m.

Some recent conversations on the forum have prompted some thinking on my part, and I'm curious to see the opinion of GRM-at-large. The combined experience of the members of this forum is astounding, so I put to you a question, GRM-

Is driver-assist technology causing more harm than good?

 

In my strict and not-at-all humble opinion, it is making marginal drivers worse at driving.

We of this forum are outliers compared to the whole of society. We respect our machines, and learn to operate them properly in a wide variety of conditions. Such behavior makes one a better driver, because there is no substitute for experience.

Conversely, the average motoring public is given a new, shiny technology and the general reaction is that of laziness- "I don't need snow tires, I have traction control" ; "Driving 10mph over in the rain is okay, because I have stability control " ; and the classic "I am eating breakfast, applying makeup, and texting because my car has adaptive cruise and will drive itself".  
 

What say you?

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
1/3/20 6:08 a.m.

I hate it. Just yesterday I was telling my wife "no one makes driving their NUMBER ONE priority anymore."

I tell my kids the same thing: driving is an art and you have to focus on it as such. Your music, your snacks, your makeup, tomorrow's schedule, homework, gossip ALL OF IT has to take a "backseat" to driving and driving well.

I contend that if everyone learned to drive in a manual vehicle with no electronic assistance they'd be a more attentive driver.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
1/3/20 6:15 a.m.

We've had this conversation before- with the Tesla auto pilot.  Given it's the exact same thing.

Love it or hate it, it's coming.  Better learn to deal with it.

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
1/3/20 6:26 a.m.

In reply to Recon1342 :

With the congestion on the roads we need every bit of help we can get.  My school bus has massive blind spots behind mirrors that require me to constantly rock and roll back and forth looking around those.  
I notice with the two weeks off from driving for the Christmas break  ( and from a paycheck )  my neck doesn't ache the way it usually does. 
Driving aids are totally unobtrusive except when they are assisting drivers from having accidents.  
Whining about things that help strikes me  as either sour grapes because you don't have them yourself or some sort of macho bravado about how good a driver you are that you don't need them. 
I CONSTANTLY use cruise control in day to day driving so I have one less thing to focus on. If that had the intelligence to avoid a suddenly stopped vehicle even 1/2 a second before I did that's a very good thing. Not something to complain about.  Blind spot warnings are another one of those items that modern congestion makes worthwhile.  
My truck and the Honda both have back up camera's  that make backing safer. I only wish the Bus had it.  
Frankly with the quality/skills  of most drivers I can't wait until every car is "driverless" 

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
1/3/20 6:47 a.m.

Unfortunately, electronic driver assistances is gonna win out. I don't foresee millions of licensed drivers suddenly taking driving well seriously.

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
1/3/20 6:51 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd : 
 

I'm not at all against the use of technology to improve safety. I just think it's making the average driver lazier than they already are. 

 

Subscriber-unavailabile
Subscriber-unavailabile Reader
1/3/20 7:03 a.m.

While I haven't driven a car with those features I have driven a tractor/trailer(53ft) with them, and it effin sucks. 
 

Constant beeping when a vehicle is within 300 ft or less, louder  and more frequent the closer you they are to you. Which is more distracting to me. 
 

The auto brake feature strait scares the crap out of me. Construction barrel hair to close to lane BRAKE. Get within 100 feet of another vehicle, nope we're slowing down. 
I guess for amateur drivers it's good, but for me it makes driving much more difficult 

wae
wae UltraDork
1/3/20 7:10 a.m.

These things are just another tool and like all tools, there's nothing inherently good or bad about it.  Regular old cruise control can remove a significant amount of fatigue from a long trip while also allowing the driver to operate their car in a more predictable and a more efficient fashion.  That's a great use of a tool which will actually make our roads a safer and more enjoyable place to be!  If the driver uses that tool inappropriately, however, you might have a car that gets driven into the backside of a truck or that applies throttle in a turn on an icy road causing a spin.

Newer driver assistance tools are fundamentally no different:  They have the ability to make the roads safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable if they're used correctly.  Anti-lock brakes can make a car easier to control during a sudden stop in most situations.  Traction control can help drivers adapt to road conditions.  Stability control can actually help prevent cars from sticking their tail out too far and spinning around.  Blindspot monitoring systems can make driving in traffic safer by allowing you to keep your primary focus forward while watching for the indicator lights with your peripheral vision.  Adaptive cruise control can reduce fatigue even more than regular cruise for highway driving.  Lane departure warnings and emergency braking systems can step in as a system of last resort to help a driver that has shifted focus.

This is a philosophical discussion that exists with other inanimate objects every day:  Just because the tool is either available in a variant that is poorly constructed or is used improperly, should that tool be restricted or made wholly unavailable.  Impact guns are not made inherently good because you can change your wheels faster at an autocross nor are they inherently bad because Harbor Freight makes one that doesn't have enough torque to remove some wheels.  They're not inherently bad because the guy at the tire shop gives too many ugga-duggas with one, and they're not inherently good because they allow someone with physical handicaps to be able to return to a hobby that they love but don't have the upper body strength for anymore.  It's a just a tool and it's up to us how we build it and use it.

All of those uses for driver assistance systems include the word "can".  It's all about how well the system is designed and how the user of the system decides to use it.  Should we be marketing those systems as a way to allow yourself to further shift your focus from piloting your 300hp, 5000 pound tall-wagon down the road?  Or maybe we should be emphasizing how these systems can help an already attentive driver navigate increasingly crowded roadways.

So to answer the question:  Good, bad, or evil incarnate?  None of the above.  But I'll answer your question with a question:  What can we do about the woefully inadequate training and education of drivers so that they can use all these tools properly?

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 New Reader
1/3/20 7:15 a.m.

Its mearly a short stop on the subway trip to full autonomous vehicles.

Personally, I am EXCITED for the day the news can declare the end to drunk driving fatalities, texting while driving accidents, etc. Also it will be amazing when I can set my tow rig to a destination (mid-ohio?) and wake up on the paddock in time for my first session.

We at GRM are a rare bunch these days, with the bulk majority of our roads covered in people I wouldnt trust with a hammer, let alone a 3 ton SUV.

triumph7
triumph7 Reader
1/3/20 7:44 a.m.

These driver aids wouldn't be so bad (for me) if it were not for all the false alarms.  I finally turned off the "pre-collision alert" on the Ranger after it went off twice going through the same intersection on rainy nights and once approaching slowed traffic on the interstate (I was already casually moving my foot to the brake).  All it does is distract me from the task at hand... all of a sudden I have to look at the dash to see why there is beeping and flashing!

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
1/3/20 7:46 a.m.

I'm with wae on this one. Used correctly they're a huge help. Used incorrectly they're dangerous. Much like a hammer.

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
1/3/20 7:52 a.m.

In reply to wae :

I think you've hit the nail squarely on the head, Wae. 
 

To answer your question (which I think strikes at the root of the problem), I don't honestly know. I'm doing the best I can with my children by teaching them everything I possibly can about driving safely. Driver's ed is woefully inadequate, especially when run by a local school district...

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
1/3/20 7:57 a.m.

I didn't read anything posted above, because it all will boil down to people ignoring the fact of the very simple aspect of driving. It's all well and good but people still ignore all the warning signs and still do stupid E36 M3. All the technology is doing is "building" a bigger and better idiot.

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
1/3/20 8:00 a.m.

Some of the assists are useful, at least when they're well implemented.  Those are ones that can be used by a good, attentive driver to either reduce fatigue or reduce risk when operating close to the edge of the car's abilities.  

Unfortunately, a lot of driver assists are downright intrusive and will end up fighting a good driver in at least some situations, rather than helping.  

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/3/20 8:34 a.m.
alfadriver said:

We've had this conversation before- with the Tesla auto pilot.  Given it's the exact same thing.

Love it or hate it, it's coming.  Better learn to deal with it.

I consider electronannies a necessary evil - they serve as an important transition between fully analog, human drivers and fully digital, self-driving vehicles.

People used to be more attentive drivers because being an inattentive driver would kill you.

Right now, they have a very false and overconfident sense of security because of the development of electronannies.

Once the electronannies are successfully developed to the point of truly viable autonomous vehicles, the humans can go full time with their ever-so-important distractions.

But the in-between phase is resulting in a lot of risk and inconvenience for everyone.  Luckily, collision energy management science has evolved pretty far, and major injury statistics continue to fall even if collision incident statistics really haven't yet.

 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/3/20 8:37 a.m.

There was probably a time when people started become really crappy horseback riders, as those “horseless carriages” came into existence. 

They are not going away. 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
1/3/20 8:39 a.m.

ABS, Traction control and rear vision cameras, I am okay with. This auto-braking, lane departure warning, more intrusive nonsense, nah, get that out of here. All its doing is building dumber, less competent drivers. Those people will get used to it, and then when it breaks or malfunctions (and it will) they won't notice or be too dependent and cause accidents. It's also a lot more E36 M3 to go wrong. For example, the GM side detection modules, in NY climates, go bad at least once a year from corrosion. It's $375 each for the module, I forget how much for the harness when the connectors rot out, 3 hours labor to remove the rear bumper and replace them and program them. It's over $1000 and not covered by warranty once you get out of bumper-to-bumper. And you can't just ignore it, because once the modules degrade, they cause all sorts of issues like draining the battery and knocking out the bus they are on and making the car not start,

But I'm out of touch with the times, don't like CUVs and don't buy new cars, so I should just shut the berkeley up. Or at least that's the overtones I get lately when we discuss modern cars.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
1/3/20 8:49 a.m.

They are here to stay.  ABS is either very nice, or terrifying, depending on whether I'm in my Volvo or my Chev pickup truck.  Blind spot warning is useless in heavy traffic, and not required anywhere else for drivers who are awake.  The requirement for a sensor pointed ahead to tell you when you are going to run into something makes me weep for the future of society.

Programming limits are a huge part of whether it's useful or not.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
1/3/20 8:51 a.m.

The only time I ever feel like any of those systems are intrusive on the street is when pulling into traffic quickly from a right turn in a FWD car and the traction control kills power.  Other than that I'm 100% fine with them being on vehicles with one exception:  I should be able to completely disable them if I want to.  I think overall they are a great thing as they make the roads safer.

Nick brings up a good point regarding E36 M3 to go wrong.  I am not a fan of increased complexity that results in less reliability/more expensive repairs.  I know over time these parts go up in reliability and down in price, but often (esp. with electronics) there end up being situations where you have an absurdly expensive part needed to repair a car.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
1/3/20 9:01 a.m.
Duke said:
alfadriver said:

We've had this conversation before- with the Tesla auto pilot.  Given it's the exact same thing.

Love it or hate it, it's coming.  Better learn to deal with it.

I consider electronannies a necessary evil - they serve as an important transition between fully analog, human drivers and fully digital, self-driving vehicles.

People used to be more attentive drivers because being an inattentive driver would kill you.

Right now, they have a very false and overconfident sense of security because of the development of electronannies.

Once the electronannies are successfully developed to the point of truly viable autonomous vehicles, the humans can go full time with their ever-so-important distractions.

But the in-between phase is resulting in a lot of risk and inconvenience for everyone.  Luckily, collision energy management science has evolved pretty far, and major injury statistics continue to fall even if collision incident statistics really haven't yet.

 

LOL- no, I really don't see it that way.  

Way back when I was in drivers Ed back in the early 80's, we were shown a movie about inattentive driving- filmed in the 50's.  

And then I found a stack of Alfa Owners my dad had, and there was an editorial of inattentive drivers as well as drivers who were just nasty jerks.  Published in the 60's.

People continue to be people.  Before we had cell phones, people did their hair, shaved, and read books.  And ever since the dawn of driving, we have had drunk drivers.

Nothing has changed, except cars are easier to survive accidents, and we now have technology that mitigates the inattentive driver.  Nothing for the jerks, though.

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
1/3/20 9:04 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Or an expensive part that's NLA because the vehicle is more than a couple of years old. 

The0retical
The0retical UberDork
1/3/20 9:07 a.m.

The driver aids have been improving safety for a long time, it's a bit hard to argue the results.

I wish it were a bit more seamless as I hate it when warning lights go on in my peripheral vision then an alarm sounds, simply because I'm passing a jersey barrier or someone entered my blind spot.

It'll get better over time, but they're not going away. I'm more concerned about parts being available after 7 to 10 years.

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
1/3/20 9:08 a.m.

Instead of driving nannies, we should put the cars on a track, link them together, and have one person at the front driving.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
1/3/20 9:10 a.m.

In reply to wae :

I really like what you wrote but I'm not 100% sold on the "tool" analogy. If I'm am alert and attentive and take driving as seriously as it should be taken, I don't need any tools to help me drive really well.

I think these "tools" just make up for E36 M3ty drivers who should be constantly improving their skills.

I can maintain 75mph or the distance between my car and the next just fine without assistance. One just has to have the will to do it.

 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
1/3/20 9:20 a.m.

In reply to ebonyandivory :

The operative word in your statement is IF .

Even the best driver isn't there 100% of the time.  Unless you can honestly say that you don't think of work, news, family, sports scores, music lyrics,.. ever when you drive.  I know with 100% certainty that I can not say that I'm 100% there when I drive.  And consider myself lucky that when I'm not, something really bad has not happened to someone else, taking me out.

Again, people are people, and nobody is perfect.

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