can you have a car in tech school – In some models one finds overwhelming consoles full of buttons or more simplified designs with a more or less large color touch screen that encompasses various functions, and which is also a multimedia connectivity system to integrate to a greater or lesser extent with Our telephone.

Driving safely is paramount

But of course, the interior of our car is not our living room, and in it the main task we carry out is driving, a task that is certainly not easy and requires great concentration , although with experience and day-to-day we have it. Very automated and we don’t think so.

It is not only about steering the machine, skilfully combining steering, accelerator, brake, gearbox (in Spain mostly manual), controlling speed, engine speed, shifting at the right time and not spending too much fuel, but also to pay attention to traffic conditions, the road, other vehicles, pedestrians, signs, essentially safety . It’s a lot of information to process, and very little time to do it.

39% of road accidents are due to distractions

At this point in the narrative some of you may think that this may seem a bit exaggerated, but I am sorry to say that it is not. A couple of years ago there was already a slightly worrying study that said that in the United States 25% of accidents were caused by distractions with mobile phones .

Well, again some may think that this data is inflated, but again I am afraid that it is not: 39% of road accidents caused by a distraction, and oddly enough, in Spain one in three drivers admits having used the mobile phone at the wheel (and that is the ones who recognize it, we would have to see how many there are who do not want to admit it).

‘It’s okay, if I just look away for a second’

This is what many people would say (and in fact say) to convince themselves that nothing is wrong and that they “control” the situation. But they don’t realize that when they take their eyes off the road to glance at the phone screen, a lot happens. Many.

On the highway, when we drive at 120 km/h, in a single second our car advances 33.3 meters . In case someone does not visualize those more than 33 meters, it is almost a swimming pool and a half, or almost seven and a half cars in a row.

Manufacturers’ proposals

One of the first proposals to reduce the distractions caused by the telephone were hands-free systems , first with supports to physically connect the telephone, then with a wireless connection via bluetooth .

But speakerphones quickly fell short of features compared to those offered by the phone, and especially a smartphone . What have the manufacturers done then? Integrate in the car systems that communicate with our telephone and allow us to use certain functions in better conditions.

Detect fatigue, tiredness and sleepiness

One of the first systems that watches over the driver, and that already included as standard in some models (Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, or Volvo, among others), or optionally in others, although they still tend to Being not very affordable cars, but surely it will become general, is the fatigue detection system .

This system capable of detecting that the driver tired , that he has driving for many hours and his capacity for attention and reaction have  reduced , or that falling asleep, and therefore tries to avoid being frightened, or even worse, the accident. It does this primarily with a steering angle sensor on the steering wheel.


Voice control: the least distracting option

To handle the functions there are also different proposals. The controls are usually present in all of them, either on the steering wheel itself, either in the extension of the center console, near the gear lever, as a wheel or joystick .

In some cases chosen that the screen that shows the contents tactile and in others a voice control system also used, which is often accompanied by a reading system (text to speech) .

Legislation slower than technology

Among the challenges that arise are those related to the different levels of automation and security . In other words, knowing what happens when the vehicle is alone and what security mechanisms, such as automatic braking, activated if necessary. Logically, the impact of an error in these systems can have dramatic dimensions.

Despite the rapid technical advances in this area, the legislative changes necessary for its commercialization are much slower.

Google, pioneer

Manufacturers such as Nissan, General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Mercedes or Toyota are experimenting with different technologies to have their driverless vehicle proposals ready. In the last edition of the CES consumer electronics fair in Las Vegas, BMW already showed a new autonomous car prototype that uses more compact technology and equipment compared to previous versions. Until now, the machinery of this type of modified vehicle occupied, with different devices and sensors.