My whole post was written from a future perspective, where cars are 'aware' of each other's presence and velocities, and the entire highway system is aware of the traffic on it - so it can inform motorists (or their automatic navigation systems, actually) of road conditions.
To me, this is part and parcel of 'ubiquitous computing', and in that context you can believe that your car can, and will, know that you are in a merge. Furthermore, it will know that you are coming up on a bottleneck around the corner before you ever see the brake lights.
I read your comment about fahrfegnugen, and can relate to a good degree, but I'm more of a tour driver than a roadster fan. I would probably very much prefer the Audi TT experience to the one of a Miata. No offense intended, but the Z3 looks like a waste of space to me. Tastes vary. For the record, my 'full size sports car' is manual, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
That said, I think that we're heading into a future where most machines on the road will be not only mini-vans, but also 90% automatic. They will be auto-guided, and folks like you and I will be relegated to the Lane Formerly Known as HOV, to not complicate life for people who can now read the paper and apply make-up in peace during their morning commute.
I expect that we will have to be specially (read 'expensively') licensed for the privilege of driving under our own control, and eventually we'll be viewed by main-stream society with the same distrust as they all now reserve for the proponents of fully automatic weapons.
Computers may be necessary in 'modern' cars, but not in cars. You know it, I know it. Arguing the point is a waste. Modern regulations and expectations of efficiency make computers a necessity. Let me ask you this: Would you be willing to let your dealership monitor your car's vital statistics for a 75% savings in extended warranty costs, and in more effective and lower priced scheduled maintenance?
At each service stop, or each time you refuel (SpeedPass) or pass through an electronically debited toll gate, they could download the 'black box' of your car, and monitor fuel efficiency, sensor readings, estimated tire wear based on gyroscopic readings... They could know your driving habits and service your car accordingly. Synthetic oil, specific filters, all these things could be de facto instead of special request.
Of course this data would also filter back to the manufacturer, who could then consider the statistical averages of car usage on a particular make and model, and factor this into both the next years design and trim packages as well as advertising campaigns aimed at the bulk of the drivers of that model.
If you could cut your insurance premium by up to 75% by allowing the insurance company to monitor your driving habits in real-time? Imagine, only paying for the time you're actually on the road, moving, instead of 24/7... But be careful, as soon as you exceed the posted speed limit, your rates go up.
That is the future we're heading into, like it or not. It's just as likely as air-bags, ABS, hell, even seat-belts were a 'safety option' at one point... Yes, you can have your air-bags disabled today, but I assure you that no matter how many people burn to death due to a jammed seat-belt, they will never become optional again. Half of it will come in the name of safety, and the other half in the name of conveneince.
And even if you and I don't want to buy a car with such features, I doubt anyone but Ferrari will bother to make one custom, just for the asking. "Real" drivers are already few and far between, and tomorrow, they'll be a drop in the bucket.
|"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"|
[ Parent ]