Advances in car technology are abundant, as evidenced by the changes that we have already seen in cars over recent years. If you compare the cars from 10 or 20 years ago to the cars that you see now, you will notice that there are big differences, especially when it comes to special features and technological advancements.
Out of car tech has clearly had an impact on the way we learn to drive. Gone are the days when you’d need to invest in a pile of books to learn and memorize the rules of the road. Nowadays learners simply head onto the internet and download materials for free in which they can study and revise the knowledge they need. Beyond this, many learners are also able to test their skills in simulators.
So, while studying has been changed, what about the in-car tech? Does that also change the way we pick up the skills of driving?
Many cars are now built in with crash avoidance technology, which controls the car and slows it down automatically once it detects that the vehicle in front is travelling fast. When it comes to learning to drive there is a concern that this may lead learners to be more careless, knowing they have a safety net to fall back on. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear that technology does help drivers by adding an extra layer of safety. Previously only your own wits stood in the way of you and an accident.
Another example of in-car technology comes in the shape of fuel-efficiency monitors that can be seen on dashboards. New drivers who are learning will be able to monitor their fuel consumption– making it more natural for a fuel-efficient driving style to be formed. Such an addition makes it easier for the driver to see the relationship between pressing the pedals and paying out money.
The sort of technology used by smart phones and tablet computers is increasingly coming in to cars. Although many say that a touchscreen is helpful and safer than using the mobile phone while driving, this does not necessarily mean that there are no risks involved when using it. Complementing this with better use of ‘voice prompts’ will be the real key to taking this forward. New drivers will soon be able to command their car to provide weather, map and traffic details in the way they might command their phone to open a message or search Google.
The latter is an example of the fact that in-car technology is still developing. Changes have made the driving experience – and learning experience – easier and more in tune with the tech that we use in the rest of our day-to-day life. That will continue to happen as the lines between computer screen and dashboard display blur further.
The process will also continue to evolve as more and more vehicles benefit from the type of technology in the first two examples. While the changes and innovations in this sector jeep coming – they will naturally take a while to filter through to every driver.
So, yes, car tech is changing the way we learn to drive – providing safety, efficiency and convenience that many older drivers were unable to enjoy. But the important thing to bear in mind is that the future offers the potential for a more fundamental change. Changes so far have left the traditional process – with mirrors, pedals, indicators etc – largely untouched. That may well not be the case in the next wave of technological advancements.
Photo: NRMA Motoring and Services