5 Ways That Technology Is Turning Your Car into a Nagging Parent
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Remember the first time when teenage-you could finally drive your car without mom in the passenger’s seat, offering her wisdom and advice on driving (read: blood curdling screams)? Well, those days aren’t over. It’s only a matter of time before your car automatically switches off “that garbage” you’ve been listening to and forces you to call Grandma. And remember, if you can’t afford a new car with all these fancy schmancy features, you know where to go.
Here are 5 new features that will take you back to the days of permits and braces:
1. The “Put-On-The-Brakes-Or-Else” Feature
New car buyers in Europe will feel the effects of this feature first, thanks to some new rules from the EU commission. As of November 2013, “All commercial vehicles [are required] to be fitted with an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) [system].” This feature takes it a step further than mom—it doesn’t just let the driver know when it’s getting too close to the neighbor’s trashcans, it’s “lidar” (rader, only using light) or “video sensors” will slow the car down whether or not you’re paying attention. Which is great, and will probably save a lot of lives—but you were going to stop anyway, weren’t you? I sure hope you weren’t shuffling through your CDs iPod when you were supposed to be driving.
2. The “Stop-Texting-Before-You-Kill-Someone” Feature
Remember when calling people on the phone while driving was a big thing? For some reason (obviously, it’s safer to take their eyes completely off the road while driving) people started to use texting as a reasonable substitute. Well, your mom doesn’t like it when you do that—and neither does anyone else on the road. “Texting while driving likely caused more than 16,000 road fatalities between 2002 and 2007,” according to the American Journal of Public Health. Well, thanks to all of you who didn’t listen to your mothers, there is new technology that uses “radio-frequency identification (RFID)” to see if you’re driving while texting—and it will “jam” it. Now if only they’d do something to stop girls from putting mascara on at stoplights.
3. The “Did-You-Eat-Breakfast-Today” Feature
Well, did you? And while you’re at it, I hope you’re taking vitamins. Says your car. You may have heard rumors that new car apps will “monitor blood alcohol content.” But in a few years, your car will probably do a lot more than that. In fact, it might “…notice if you have low blood sugar and tell you to have a snack; check local pollen counts and roll up your windows to prevent an allergy attack; and at lunch time, give you directions to the nearest healthy-eating establishment, pausing your iPod to broadcast the restaurant’s menu.”
Geez. Why not just climb back into a stroller?
4.The “Concerned-About-Your-Safety” Feature
In the future, your new car will “think more like a human—it [will] make a series of decisions based on several factors, rather than following a preprogrammed set of instructions or robot rules.” Driving “automatic” never felt this—well, automatic. One new feature divides your surroundings into “triangles, which define safe and unsafe areas according to what the car sees in the camera and laser rangefinder.” You can only “control” the car when you’re in an area deemed safe—or else the system takes over for you. Sound familiar?
5. The “Where-Are-You-Going” Feature
Beware, kids who used to sneak out. This time, the front door isn’t the only thing standing in your way. Not only will your car possibly use a “phone’s GPS capability to track a driver’s movements during various times of day, learning his or her routines,” it’s also going to pry into your social life. Researchers are working on a new “Prediction API” feature, which is a fancy way of saying that your car is going to figure out where you’re going whether you ask it to or not (handy if you always stop for coffee before work, not so much if you decide you need to save cash). So when 10:00pm rolls around, you parents might not know where your kids are. But the car they’re driving probably does. And if the other features are any indication, you can rest assured it’s not taking them to the rager on 12th street.
Leanna Kelly is a California native who survived college in New Jersey and England to get into New York. She enjoys writing, cooking, running, playing piano, and painting when she’s not coloring pictures of Lightning McQueen or singing Disney songs with four-year-olds to pay for her extravagant lifestyle. Send emails (or photos of adorable baby animals) to email@example.com, follow her tumblr, or check out her website.