It’s school holidays. You’re taking the kids somewhere – maybe it’s a playdate, maybe it’s Disney On Ice – either way you’re navigating roads that aren’t totally familiar to you and someone in the back seat is hungry. Or their brother just bit them. Or the window is locked and they want it opened. Or they just spilled their drink. Or they want a different song. You get the drill – you’re a bit frazzled, a bit over it, a bit distracted.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our cars could do the driving? Did you know this reality is going to happen in our lifetime? I am not kidding; our grandchildren are probably most likely never going to need to get a drivers licence. When it comes to driving anywhere with kids in the car I reckon this day can’t come soon enough.
I have a good friend who is a designer for a major car company and he’s working on one of these auto-pilot cars, and it’s not just for wow factor at a car show, it’s the beginnings of the real thing.
Say what! It took me a moment to take that in too. Last year, as part of the Kidspot Voices, I got to test drive one of Ford’s new cars which parks itself and also automatically stops itself if it detects an object (person sized or bigger) in front of the car at a certain distance when you’re moving at a certain speed. It was spooky being in the front seat and having this kind of control taken away – but it was also amazing. It was the kind of thing that I thought about for days afterwards. My mum got a new car this year and while her car doesn’t do the stopping thing, it can park itself – not that she’d trust it to do as good a park as she can do.
Given the traffic these days is a whole lot busier than it was back when we were kids (I checked the ABS and in 1982 there were 8mil registered vehicles on the road compared to 17mil today) and, let’s face it, we are a lot more distracted managing changing speed limits, mobile phones and GPS navigation devices – the road is a lot riskier that it was for our parents back when we were playing the corner game in the backseat.
Like my mum I quite enjoy the challenge of parking my car in a tight spot. But in the case I was distracted and/or I encountered another driver who was distracted or reckless, I would love the reassurance of having autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
Does your car have AEB? Have you noticed the campaign the TAC is running at the moment “howsafeisyourcar.com.au“?
*The photograph above is a a reenactment of actual events
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