Rented some micro Peugeot a couple of years ago in the UK. It had auto wipers, First I thought what a useless gadget but aftera hundred miles of on/off drizzle I loved them, dead reliable, wiped evry time just when needed.
The Guild of Experienced Motorists don't agree.......
A recent publication of theirs lists some of the drawbacks of "clever cars".
Basically, the Guild is saying, the driver is being cocooned from the environment, in terms of weather awareness, lack of regular vehicle checks (too much reliance upon warning systems) and preventative maintenance.
I agree ...... to some extent. I do wonder if the majority of motorists would still be better with the gizmos, on the basis that they'd otherwise do absolutely nothing anyway ! At least, for example, an ice warning, or a "low oil level" caption will register with a motorist. Advanced concepts, such as feeling the cold and deducing that it may be icy, and checking the oil level dipstick are apparently beyond some motorists.
BTW -- Did you hear about the lady who went to her car dealer asking to buy "a new 710 cap" ?
(a "710" cap rotated 180 degrees becomes.....an "OIL" cap !)
As an aside.....
The adverse effect of gizmos is definitely occuring in commercial aviation. The electronic aids now built into aircraft are removing the pilots from the loop, in terms of situational awareness, systems monitoring, hands-on operation, etc, often whether the pilots like it or not. Manual flying skills and basic airmanship are being eroded.
"Protection pack" which includes all-round airbags
We dropped the SatNav system from the spec when we decided two of us with a map was a bit cheaper than the £1000 or so for the option ! And missus likes the heated seats, and nipper likes DVD - so do I, it's great to hear him chuckling over Pingu as we're driving along.
I'm reminded of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer sees all the gadgets that can be run off the lighter socket and buys them all. So then when he's on the phone, baking brownies in his microwave, and watching the game on TV, he suddenly finds out he's about to run off the end of the pier, writes SOS on a piece of paper and sends out a fax...
Mate's new Isuzu Wizard 4WD has a HUD! No bull, it shows the altimeter and tilt and roll indicators in the centre of the windscreen, about 6" above dashboard height.
Practically useless, totally cool.
Cool? Juvenile and naff more like. Confirms my views on 4X4 owners, though
The one gadget I'd really like they don't make yet - an autopilot. I'd like to be able to settle down in the back to a good book or a kip if it's a long trip, while the car drives itself to the destination.