Many More Beside These

15 July 2011

Buying Radar

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. 


  1. I agree, I don't want the the decision making left to a computer. Remember when cars came out that put your seatbelt on for you when you got in the car? I am smart enough to always use my seatbelt, but to take the decision away from me! I would never buy a car that did that.

  2. As impressed as I am that a computer can do these things, is EXACTLY how chagrined and disappointed that people are doing these things less and less often, and less and less well.

    John, I appreciate the point you bring up about signalling the vehicle aft of you by flashing the brake. I might be more impressed with this new 'thanks for buying our new-fangled car with distracted dumb@$$-excusing' technology, if it gave a damn about the other people on the road besides the newest buyer.

    John, even if I disagree with you on a point here or there, the fact that you are the kind of driver that always considers his impact on other drivers makes you a driver to cherish. Whether or not you are THE best driver, you obviously possess and continue to nurture the beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives that not only make you an outstanding driver, but improve the safety of every other road user in your immediate vicinity.