Most driving instructors and insurers would agree, paying attention to the road when you’re driving is a relatively important part of the process. Despite this and the fact that we’re barrelling along at two to three times our natural top speed, in a metal shell weighing over a tonne, we’re all guilty of looking away for a few seconds now and again. Whether it’s to send a text (before it became illegal, obviously), taking a drink or simply changing a setting on the stereo, it’s a fact of driving that no one is concentrating on the road 100 per cent of the time. But what if there was a car that actually runs on attention?
It might sound like to get around in this thing you’ll need to cruise through your local town centre with your stereo at full blast, but in reality, it cuts off the accelerator if you’re not looking at the road enough.[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLXMQCPiAic’]
This is all part of an experiment by roadside recovery company, RAC, which wanted to see if it could not only raise awareness of the occasional lack of attention we pay the most important part of driving, but also potentially help develop stopgap technology between now and fully automated cars.
The potential benefits of this technology do sound like it could not only help snap your attention back to the road, but reduce the damage done to the vehicle and its occupants in the event of a crash due to inattention. However, that consistent drop in speed is going to negatively effect your miles to gallon and not to mention potentially create a dangerous situation where in close traffic or low visibility, an unexpected slow down could cause someone to rear end you if they aren’t paying close enough attention themselves.
Kitguru Says: What do you think of the tech on show here? It seems like it would be mitigated by fully automated vehicles, but perhaps it could be a requirement for manual cars of the future, where when you’re not paying attention, the automated system takes over.[Cheers Wired]