15 July 2011
A developing theme in this blog is a critique of solutions-by-tech for driver safety. I disagree in principle. Here is another reason why--
A Nissan commercial. Many different models, basic theme is Nissan going into the future. Lots of automation, doors opening by themselves, seats closing, motors whirring. Then, the emerging theme of a radar-type sensor, following a truck, sensing a box falling off, automatically braking the car.
In traffic? With the car in back of me not having the auto-braking? No way! I want the driver decision to keep speed and swerve, or to brake, or to feather the brake, or to rapid-flash the brake lights without really slowing down (effectively slowing the car in back of me more), or a number of other possibilities, for Me to decide in those tenths of a second. No engineer is going to be able to tell me I cannot react well to this, that their radar is better. (And anyway, a proper following distance, or not following a truck with an open tailgate, removes this question.)
Radar works with remote sensing. It's used in space, underwater, in warfare, for situations beyond our sight. It is not to be used where we can use vision.