Cars Drive Themselves So We Can Text In Peace

Ford Unveils Lane Keeping System

This video shows how Ford’s latest driver aids will help distracted drivers avoid those pesky vehicular manslaughter charges. As a cyclist, I approve. I just wish it was mandatory in all cars/light trucks. Perhaps then, lanesharing could be legalized in the rest of the US, dramatically improving motorcyclist safety and reducing traffic congestion. Although in 25+ years of lanesharing on 2 wheels I haven’t had anyone sideswipe me, so either it’s not as dangerous as people think, or I’m just better at paying attention than some riders. There’s a great article on the subject over at Jalopnik.

While Cadillac Makes It Easier To Avoid Driving

When I watched Cadillac’s CUE unveiling at the LA Auto Show, I was actually horrified. CUE simplifies and streamlines all the distractions people enjoy doing so much more than driving. As the population surges, traffic worsens, so driving has become downright unbearable, especially in megacities like Los Angeles. People want to be anywhere but in their car. Music, social media, conversation, texting all serve as pleasant diversions from the odious task of inching forward at 15mph (on the freeway) for hours at a time. In response to this, many car manufacturers offer optional auto-stop capability, to stop the car when you’re too busy texting to realize it’s time to stop. Distracted driving is such a problem, our tax dollars were used to create this website.

“Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.”

Some luxury cars also have lane drift notification, a system that will warn the driver when they’re about to change lanes without signaling. This system would be engaged constantly on most cars in Los Angeles, as signaling is viewed as a request to speed up and block the spot the signaler wanted to occupy. Now, Ford is set to launch this technology on the Fusion, bringing lane positioning driver aids out of the luxury garages and into the mainstream. Their active city stop and active park assist systems are already very popular, even with German drivers, as reported here.

 

Making Roads Safer For All Users

Apparently I wasn’t the only journalist at the LA Auto Show who prefers to bike in LA. Mayor Villariagosa has done a lot to make LA a more bike-friendly city. We have more bike lanes, paths, and shales coming in every day. Citizens can even give their feedback on how we’d like our streets to be used at this city site: LA/2B. Most bicyclists & motorcyclists are 110% focused on the task at hand. When a minor distraction may be your last, you tend to become hyper aware of the threats around you, focusing on what’s most likely to kill you, not on what your ex just posted on Facebook. When you’re safely ensconced in a metal cage with airbags and seatbelts, it’s easy to lose focus on the task at hand. Thus, I hope these driver aids become as mandatory as seatbelts. People aren’t becoming more attentive drivers, and laws against distracted driving aren’t likely to prevent any pedestrian/cyclist deaths. But an anti-drift system will.

Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.