Do you think we're at the point yet where tech can decide whether we should drive?

Saw an interesting article:

And yeah, I know - it’s The Verge - but it seems to have some legs. Basically Congress in the USA is setting the ball rolling for a legislative mandate here. The ultimate idea seems to be that vehicle sensors of some sort should be able to guess based on your behavior whether or not you’re “impaired”, and take action to limit or prevent you driving.

Curious as to y’all’s opinion as to whether technology is at the point where it can do this reliably over the long term. I’m just imagining putting something like Siri in charge of whether or not I’m allowed to drive at any given point, and…well…“I’ve got a bad feeling about this”. :smiley:

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Absolutely not.
And we need more manual transmissions again.
Driving stickshift is a singular experience. :slight_smile:


I’ve driven stick. I’m not an “enthusiast”, but it’s kind of fun. On my last stick shift there was something weird with the transmission where the gas pedal actually had to be down when you put it in gear from a compete stop, or it would stall out. Not too much, but not too little. It was a fun balancing act once you got used to it. :smiley:

May I ask your age bracket? Just curious. :slight_smile:

I may be a bit older. My first car was a 1974 Super Beetle Type 1 and a stickshift. So I’ve been driving stick since 1986 and have driven many manual transmissions in my day. :smiley:

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I learned to drive on a stick shift car, a 3 speed with the shifter on the steering column. For a time it would beep the horn twice as you shifted from first to second :grinning:

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I’m in my mid-40s. The car in question was an early 90s Ford Escort hatchback. That was a cool car.

And relevant to the original topic re: technology and breakage, the car was only about 10 years old and the automatic seat belt (where it slides on the track and buckles you in automatically) was already broken. In the “forward” position. So I had a mechanic make it so it was broken in the “backward” position, so I could just pull it around myself.

I have the sinking feeling that tech measures we implement for things are going to drive repair and maintenance costs up substantially, and they won’t be “I’ll fix this next time I get paid” types of things if they’re required for the car to operate. There’s a whole segment of the population that only buys 10 year old cars, and they tend to be the people that have a harder time affording repairs.

There are several interlocks on the market, some are court mandated for assholes that drink and drive.


There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a perfect heal/toe downshift just before you enter a tight corner :slight_smile:

Unfortunately there’s nothing quite like the feeling of missing one either :laughing:


Yeah. The idea here seems to be that the car should prevent the first drunk driving incident, whereas interlocks prevent (theoretically) the second.


“Detecting and preventing impaired driving”. The technology on my wrist that incorporates fall alerts cannot distinguish between clapping and falling. What would happen in the car if a driver swerves to avoid a road hazard and the car decides “drunk” and freaks out.

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I don’t have a high degree of confidence in this yet, but I strongly suspect that a single event would not cause the car to conclude that you’re impaired.

If enough of the population didn’t like this “feature” it would likely hurt sales of new cars. Possibly for a number of years, especially if self-driving vehicles were expected in the near future.

When American cars were physically down sized in the late 70’s - early 80’s new car sales dropped to the point many manufacturers eventually started offering incentives like 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranties (i.e. everything was covered except tires). And the cost of used cars skyrocketed. I purchased a new car in 1979 for $500 more than the cost of a similar 2 year old car with 55,000 miles.

Of course this may amount to nothing, especially if the tech can be easily bypassed.

Was it clearly one factor (smaller cars) that drove a decline in sales?

I can think of a lot of other things going on in that period that might also have contributed — stagflation, a recession, oil prices, increasingly serious competition from foreign imports (many of which were smaller — or better at being small — than American made counterparts), allegations of safety compromises in some smaller American-made cars, and so on.

I seem to remember warnings that various other safety feature mandates would hurt sales. Pretty sure they have driven new car prices up, but for the most part, the auto industry has figured out how to adapt. And as far as I can tell (i.e., purely anecdotally!), when people can afford new fangled safety features, they seem to like them.

None of which is to say any particular automated impairment intervention is a good or bad idea. Just that I’m usually wary of catastrophizing over vague requirements.

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I love manual transmissions, except in back-to-back traffic. :slight_smile:

I tend to agree about previous safety mandates, with the caveat that nothing we’ve had thus far (other than in limited circumstances - ignition interlocks, for instance) actually stops you from driving a vehicle. And as far as I’m aware, there’s nothing at all that would decide that a moving vehicle with a driver behind the wheel needed to be shut down while driving.

I’m hopeful they’ll get this worked out.

That said, a car can be driven with a broken seatbelt sensor. An emissions problem or a broken headlight or numerous other problems don’t disable your vehicle and prevent you from getting to work until you can see the mechanic.

And these new safety features, quite arguably, don’t make the driver of these cars any safer, unless every other driver on the road has them as well. So there’s not a clear benefit to early adopters - which is probably why they need to force the issue legislatively.

Part of the mandate is to develop the tech in such a way that bypassing it isn’t possible. Of course we all know that “isn’t possible” sometimes just means “you buy a $50 dongle that plugs into the OBD2 port and it reworks your software”, but…

If the legislative intent is to mandate a system design that’s tamper-proof, I would think a broken sensor would be indistinguishable from tampering.

My CompuServe account was several years in the future so I didn’t do any research. But that’s how I remember it. The smaller cars were unpopular and thought one of the major reasons for the decline in sales according to a friend that owned a new car dealership.

But that was also the time when Chrysler had to be bailed out the first time so other factors definitely could have contributed to the problem.

There was also the fact that smaller cars had less “oomph”. My 1979 Cadillac Coupe DeVille has a V8 425, and that wasn’t some crazy “sporty” option. In the early 80s they were moving more and more cars to the smaller 4 and 6 cylinder engines, and I don’t think they had performance dialed in on them like they do now.

They also lowered safety standards. In 1982 the previous standard was that a bumper should be able to withstand a 5mph impact, and they lowered it to 2mph.

So probably a lot of factors. :slight_smile:

If I am not driving then I would ride in public transport or take an Uber. No way a self driven car. That’s boring. It’s just me. I enjoy driving.

That’s the thing - this isn’t about the car driving. This is about the car constantly analyzing your driving behavior to decide whether it needs to disable your ability to drive.