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Reg Hardware Car Week You are probably expecting me to start this feature with a hymn of praise to the electric car, but I’m not. The Nissan Leaf has been on sale for the best part of 12 months and all the e-cars on the horizon, from the Renault Zoe to the Tesla Model S, are simply variations on the theme. The electric car is …

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Facepalm

I wish manufacturers would stop trying to put idiot sensors in their cars. This just encourages people to drive carelessly, 'Because the computer will save me'. You should be following the car in front at a safe distance. Remember the two second rule? If you do that, you won't need the auto stop system because you shouldn't be tailgating. You should also be paying attention to the road.

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Anonymous Coward

The simplest safety device

is a six inch spike sticking out the steering wheel. You'll think twice about driving like an idiot. The safer you feel the riskier you'll be.

Risk compensation

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Silver badge

Re: The simplest safety device

Can I have the spike sticking out the back for all the tail-gaters?

People are forgetting to take responsibility for their own actions. People currently step out in front of cars without looking. They know the driver will stop and if they don't the driver is at fault, not the moron who didn't look. Won't help the lifespan of the pedestrian when the sun is in the driver's eyes.

I suggest the front facing camera on the car. Someone steps out without looking round and its classed as suicide. No blame passed to the driver.

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Mushroom

And while we're at it, let's get rid of tetanus shots. Only careless people cut their fingers on a nail/thorn, so we should make sure that's still lethal. And antibiotics for VD - if you can't keep your man satisfied, don't be surprised if he shags around, gets the clap and then you can't have kids. And safety guards on bandsaws and hydraulic presses, and protective clothing for using chainsaws, and steel toecaps.

And don't you dare install a firewall or anti-virus. If you've secured your PC properly, and you never open an email attachment, and you never download anything, you don't need it. Nor should you ever have your code reviewed, or even test it before you release it, because you do it perfectly first time, every time.

Alternatively, join the real world, and realise that shit happens and human beings aren't infallible.

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title

I thought the whole point was to remove the (stupid, careless and unqualified yet licensed) driver from the equation.

Or at least to warn the automatons that a vehicle is not under computer control.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah yes. The malawian lorry driver.

I remember the Malawian lorry driver's strike, because power steering meant women would be able to drive them.

I remember myself railing against ABS, on the grounds that you couldn't feel the road under braking, and power steering myself because you couldn't feel the road. And Front wheel drive. It just encouraged people to drive into corners they hadn't thought out. Four wheel drive was just for people with no skill.

Self parking! Well it just encourages women onto the roads, doesn't it?

Alas, now, having three kids and a wife, and au pair, I wouldn't let them drive a car that didn't have these things.

Alas now using the road to get places to do things and meet people, rather than using a road as a hobby to demonstrate just how brilliant I am at oversteering round roundabouts, I find these things brilliant, when I'm tired, not concentrating and so on.

Yes. I know people shouldn't drive when they're not concentrating but everyone over the age of 25 does.

Let me guess. You're 23, male, and you just can't understand how anyone could possibly have an accident.

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Vic
Silver badge

> shit happens and human beings aren't infallible.

Whilst this is true, human beings tend to be a lot less fallible if there is a personal downside to them acting like total dicks.

So it's all well and good having this new tech to help, but the root of the problem is that drivers get away with doing dangerous things with cars that would have them jailed if they did it with any other implement.

As ever, the solution to the problem is multi-faceted, and any attempt at a "simple" solution is necessarily flawed...

Vic.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: Ah yes. The malawian lorry driver.

> I remember myself railing against ABS, on the grounds that you couldn't feel the road

When ABS was first introduced, it raised the insurance premium, because the car was statistically much more likely to be involved in a front-end collision.

Reducing the perception of danger from a driver's perspective just causes increased risk-taking.

> everyone over the age of 25 does.

And this is the problem with such behaviour being inappropriately punished.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Idealist?

Well, given the improvements in death statistics despite improved vehicles and technology providing ever-increasing ability to drive like a complete twat I think I'll take all the advanced safety tech I can get.

Twat stat:

In the USA seat belt use is now around 80%.

Over half of people killed in accidents weren't wearing a restraint.

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GBE

> > shit happens and human beings aren't infallible.

>

> Whilst this is true, human beings tend to be a lot less fallible if

> there is a personal downside to them acting like total dicks.

One would hope so, but from I've seen, that just isn't the case.

People seem to be _profoundly_ bad at estimating their own competence

and at assessing risk (and how their behavior affects risk). It

doesn't matter whether you're talking about buying and selling

collaterlized debt obligations or driving down the street in a car:

people always think they're a lot better than they really are and they

don't have clue #1 about the risk created by the things they do.

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Anonymous Coward

There's infallible and infallible

There's a difference between a protective guard on a bandsaw or anti-virus on a pc and the anti crash technology in modern cars. People drive safer without it cause they're in more danger.

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Re: The simplest safety device

100% of cars available today already have this - it's called the steering column. It's just usually covered by an airbag these days.

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MJI
Silver badge

Re: Ah yes. The malawian lorry driver.

Front wheel drive.

Horrible idea

Howabout front to steer and rear to drive. Much better balanced and much nicer to drive.

Yes I currently have a car driven by the correct wheels.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The simplest safety device

The front/rear facing cameras and a basic black box would also good for insurance claims (when others are at fault) and force better driving.

In the example of your typical iZombie (tm) walking into the road without looking, you could also sue them or thier estate for the damages they caused.

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Vic
Silver badge

> People seem to be _profoundly_ bad at estimating their own competence

You're right, of course.

But cosseting such people in airbags and legal immunities does nothing to correct such behaviour - IMO, it actually promotes it.

If people were held responsible for their actions, there would be more of a tendency for them either to learn from mistakes (both theirs and others) and also for the learning-resistant to be removed from the road. Either situation is a win...

Vic.

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Def
Bronze badge

Two second rule?

Here in Norway instructors recommend keeping a three second gap between you and the car in front. And my current employer's driving safety standards suggest a four second gap.

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Thumb Up

Re: The simplest safety device

I've often thought about a spike in the middle of the steering wheel. Maybe they should only be mandated on idiots who have a track record of crashes and driving like idiots and serial speeders could be forced to not wear seat belts, and have their air bags disabled.

I know I drive more careful when I'm NOT wearing a seatbelt.

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Stop

Re: Ah yes. The malawian lorry driver.

"Front wheel drive.

Horrible idea

Howabout front to steer and rear to drive. Much better balanced and much nicer to drive.

Yes I currently have a car driven by the correct wheels."

If your only purpose of the car is racing, then yes, rear wheel drive is best, but for general driving, especially in poor weather conditions, FWD is far superior. The ability to do powerslides is hardly required in day to day driving, and I'd much prefer a car that I can actually USE in the snow thank you very much.

Last time we had heavy snow, most of the cars that I saw that had got stuck were Beemers / Mercs, and ALL if the traffic jams were caused by them.

If you do drive a RWD and there's more than a few MM if snow on the ground, unless you have snow tyres / snow chains or a ¼tonne of bricks in the boot, please - stay the fuck off the roads.

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Anonymous Coward

Keyboard essential ...

How else will the driver enter the inevitable 3 finger salute?

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Gold badge
WTF?

Today's tech.

So you brush off 'leccy cars 'cos they're today's tech?

I have news for you. I had a Vectra on hire that had the GM AFL system fitted, three bloody years ago. It is very effective, I'll grant, but new it ain't.....

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Anonymous Coward

New cars consume resources

Any advanced tech forth coming that will change manufacturing practice or recycling of clapped out leccy cars?

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WTF?

6m gap?

You'll have 2 idiots pulling in to there at 70 almost immediately.

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Go

Re: 6m gap?

I certainly will.

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Happy

Re: 6m gap?

Not if I can get in there first!

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Silver badge

Re: 6m gap?

and what happens when a non-roadtrain car enters the highway, will the roadtrain split to let the driver merge?

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Facepalm

Re: 6m gap?

See what I mean?

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nkm
Coat

Eat virtual lead

The DICE must be aimed at the gangster market, since the model appears to be performing a virtual drive-by shooting...

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Devil

SOS Button

I hope you'll be able to switch the functionality of that SOS button off. My 2 year old's favourite game in a parked car is to press as many buttons as she can, and I don't fancy being charged for making prank calls. Obviously I could either just keep her strapped in or leave her out on the road while I'm waiting for someone, but where's the fun in that.

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Re: SOS Button

In my Citroen C6 it just brings up a menu of choices for who you want to help you (and also requires a sim to be plugged in - though I suspect a bluetooth equiped model may just need to be synched).

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Silver badge

Re: SOS Button

I, also, would want an override and the ability to explore non-emergency-service options before the car starts calling the coastguard out.

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Trollface

Re: SOS Button

Give her a couple of 2-foot strips of duct tape to play with.

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Stop

And exactly why

are you leaving a 2-year-old unsupervised in a parked car? Where I live (Adelaide, Australia), doing that generally results in Family and Youth Services removing your kids from your custody and charging you with neglect.

Given, part of the problem in Adelaide is that on our hotter days the inside of a car can top 65 Celsius which can (and has) kill(ed) a kid left inside within minutes, which is why we specifically have that law against leaving kids in cars; but one would imagine common sense would tell anyone to take their kids with them when they leave the car for any length of time.

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FAIL

Infra Red (IR) RADAR?

<Pedant mode = ON>

RADAR (RAdio Direction And Rangeing) works using radio waves. The Focus uses an infrared laser for sensing distance for the 'low speed collision avoidance', so if you want to be accurate (and as a tech-site accuracy should be seen as 'a desirable attribute') then it actually uses LIDAR (LIght Direction And Rangeing).

<Pedant mode = OFF>

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Happy

Re: Infra Red (IR) RADAR?

<Pedant mode=ON upmanship=1>

"Ranging." There's no "e" in it.

<Pedant mode=OFF>

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Happy

Re: Infra Red (IR) RADAR?

Mea Culpa! I applaud your upmanship score...

I checked the spelling, copied the text to the clipboard, then took five minutes trying to remember my password for posting. I posted the comment, and forgot to change the spelling. D'oh!

And you're right. The word 'it' does not contain an 'e'.

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Anonymous Coward

SATRE - step backwards

All this guff about putting sensors in the car to allow it to act "train car like" on the road is, IMHO, a step backwards - how about, you know, a REAL TRAIN? One engine rather than many, a much better coefficient of drag because it's a single long tube, much lower rolling resistance due to the metal on metal rails, the ability to have a catenary power feed. One set of equipment maintained by professionals, rather than many that may not even be maintained. And forget what happens when an older car that lacks this gear pulls in (what, are you going to ban all older cars and force people to buy new? The auto unions will love that, the people won't.) Or when a deer jumps out onto the road?

And the fact that if I can put my car on the train and sit in a decent seat, I can tolerate a smaller car on longer trips because I won't be in it? I can get up and wander to the dining car for food, I can go to the viewing car if the area is scenic.

You Brits and Euros have decent train systems - this is going to screw it up! Look what happened when we stopped funding our rail in favour of the interstates and airports - we almost totally killed our passenger rail service.

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Re: SATRE - step backwards

The problem with trains is the problem with all public transport, and the reason for the car's success. Unlike the car, trains rarely go exactly where you want to go exactly when you want to go, especially in rural areas.

Unless they solve this problem the best thing to do is improve cars, methinks.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: SATRE - step backwards

> You Brits ... have decent train systems

Never been here, then?

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SATRE - step backwards

Yes, several times.

Never been on Amtrak, have you? I have.

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FAIL

Re: SATRE - step backwards

OK, real trains. I commute fortnightly to the office. The rest of the time I'm working at home where I don't emit (or not too much) carbon more than I would elsewhere. It is cheaper to fly there than it is to take the train, and it's 1 hour 10 mins opposed to 7-ish hours, for a start and you don't have to sit amongst the mentally ill for that time (don't know why this should be the case, but it is inevitably is).

But that is only the case for one person. Add one more and the economics are completely in favour of the car, and you get to go exactly where you want, when you want. I could drive door-to-door for £140, whereas the train is £125, but not quite door-to-door (extra £18 for taxis), so it is already pretty close, and the timings are roughly similar. The main problem with driving there is staying awake (which in former times would be solved with over-the-counter amphetamines). A car which could do, say, 50-ish to the gallon and drive itself mostly would probably win the entire argument for me, if it were sensibly priced. Which of course it won't be. If you can avoid the panel problems, a W210 E class Mercedes of a reasonable vintage costs stupid money (about £1,400) and will do 450 miles on a tankfull. In terms of "a much better coefficient of drag because it's a single long tube", in real cash, in the real world, I have some advice for the people running the railways as to where they can best put those virtues to use. And it ain't on rails. Of course, their profits come from the captive commuter market, and it shows. I'd love to use the train, but since it is expensive and sucks mightily, I don't. Buses are even less useful. Where I live, I can get to the nearest big city (17 miles) for £5 return. Station to office, £4, and I have to walk for 20 minutes, and they only run every 20 minutes. How anyone is taken in by the idea that we have a decent public transport system in this country anymore for the general traveller astounds me. It seems to be priced for the rich (who never use it), or people who have so much time to hang about waiting for connections that they cannot possibly be working for a living.

</rant>

No, as is usual now, it's a device to make money for the favoured, whilst having the appearance of being for the benefit of the public.

Best I stop now before I get onto the racket which is Car Insurance.

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Bronze badge

Re: SATRE - step backwards

The biggest problem with trains is capacity.

You couldn't shift a half of one percent of road traffic to rail without swamping the system. On the most popular routes/times they are already used to capacity. For typical UK distances it would probably never be worthwhile putting cars on trains - the capacity would be far better used for other purposes.

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Adaptive lighting

This technology is fitted to all Citroen C4 Grand Picassos, as long as they have the xenon headlamps option.

The most bizarre version of this is on the VW Tourag which lights up the appropriate foglight to illuminate the apex of a curve. If you only glimpse this in action briefly it makes it appear that the other side's bulb has burned out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Adaptive lighting

The fog light this is appearing on a lots of cars now. I don't understand how it helps, as fog lights don't provide the correct beam for this sort of thing. Also, besides the fact that it looks crap, how is it actually legal?

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Megaphone

Re: Adaptive lighting

Fog lights - grrrrrrrrrrrr

People who use fog lights in not fog should be clarksoned.

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Unhappy

autonomous emergency systems

Followed the link to ecall (the euro SOS thingy) where I see the car makers and telcos agree it is do-able and should save lives (with the obvious proviso there will be teething troubles as some one has mentioned).

A bit disappointing, then, to see the completely negative comments of the UK gov.

The running costs must be peanuts on the network side once it is all set up - and on the vehicle, the average car will surely have gps and cellular kit as standard soon anyway Am I alone in being disappointed?

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Anonymous Coward

So electric vehicles are today's tech, whilst PHEVs are the future? What sort of ass-backwards world does the author live in? Just because we have a handful of weak city cars that are battery powered doesn't mean that's the extent electric is capable of. Once we have electric saloons comparable to Audi A4's, BMW 3-series etc. with 200+ miles of range, then we'll see inroads into the mainstream, and when that happens who is going to bother fannying about with expensive, maintenance, increased weight, and lowered reliability of having a PHEV car with two drivetrains and the other subsystems required of a conventional engine.

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Silver badge

I want none of this crap on my roads ...

Driving demands wetware. If the human can't drive, take the human off the road. Seriously. Humans lived without automobiles for hundreds of thousands of years. They aren't necessary to life. Spending trillions of $CURRENCY trying to make autos autonomous is money that could be better spent elsewhere on the general human condition ...

Secondly, for those of us who actually can and do drive outside of bicycle distance, nothing comes close to the price/performance and TCO of good old heated & compressed treefern residue. Until this changes, electric vehicles are a fool's errand.

I won't get into the pollution caused by current battery tech ... other than to say that it's looming over the entire "green" set's shoulder, rubbing it's hands in anticipation of the inevitable.

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drivers?

will we still be drivers?

i actually enjoy driving my car from time to time. not telling it where i want to go.

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Trollface

Re: drivers?

You can always ride a bike ;)

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