Monday, March 21, 2011

A Future of Smarter Cars as Automakers and Regulators Seek to Cure Driver Error

In 2010, “unintended acceleration”, a phrase that had been somewhat forgotten in the automotive lexicon returned to the hearts and minds of many Americans. After exhausting research by the NHTSA and other independent agencies, the culprit was found to be a combination of poorly designed floor mats, “sticky” accelerator pedals...and driver error.

As our roads become more congested and the traffic rules more and more complicated, incidents of driver error resulting in accidents are likely only to increase. The solution: smarter electronics that take the “driver” out of “driver error”.

Things like electronic systems that cut power to the car when drivers hit both the brake and gas pedals, rear vision cameras, electronic data recorders and even wireless monitoring of the vehicle’s performance are set to become increasingly commonplace in the coming decades.

There are other less sophisticated measures: such as driver training and a subtle reworking of driver ergonomics that could reduce the number of or even prevent such accidents from occurring in the future. It’s all well and good, but it does hint at the low opinion both regulators and automakers have of the average car driver.

By Tristan Hankins

Via: Wall Street Journal


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