Of course, as any youngster might, I wished them to be real – to be able to talk to my car, push a few buttons and light up the built-in TV screens, heck, even have a ‘live’ rolling map … just what wonders would await us in the future?
A great many of these sci-fi wonders are now upon us: we’re on the edge of full autonomy, we have full HD screens, TVs, satnav, Wi-Fi connectivity, and interior ‘mood’ lighting for ambience. What a time to be alive.
When good tech goes bad
For that age is also upon us.
We recently told you about plans to have Intelligent Speed Assist fitted to all new cars from 2022, and how those systems will interact with our driving, physically altering our behaviour and driving style, all in the name of safety.
In that article, I made the point how companies, or the authorities, could use such technology to monitor and report our movements and behaviours, how it’s possible that tracking technology may be used against us, and that really, it’s an infringement on our civil liberties.
Currently, a great many new cars are technically capable of doing such, even without the driver’s knowledge, and just this last week, Mercedes-Benz has come under fire for using just this sort of technology in all their new and used vehicles sold through their official dealer network.
Mercedes say that they don’t use real-time analytics, but that all their cars are fitted with tracking devices which can be switched on remotely, in the event of the owner failing to keep to a finance agreement, and details can be shared with a third party, such as a bailiff or recovery company.
While their customers may not know anything about it and disagree vehemently, it’s all in the small print when signing up for finance; the terms and conditions include a clause on ‘vehicle location sensors’.
BMW have been a little more coy – they’ve absolutely denied sharing any tracking data with third parties, but haven’t denied collecting it. Honda do have the technology installed in their CR-V, but insist that it can only be activated by the driver, in case of an emergency situation. Suzuki are looking at plans to offer something similar next year.
Brexit isn’t a cure
And it continues … the black boxes used with such tech are just part of the suite of features that could be implemented – the intelligent speed assist is definitely happening, but there’s also talk of the boxes being linked to pre-wired in-car breathalysers, reporting tech for irresponsible driving, and of course, speed detection and reporting.
It would seem that the age of technology is here, but rather than improve our lives, it will be used as a larger stick to make us comply with the ever increasing and absurd motoring laws that at best, are draconian and unforgiving. Think of it in terms of a ‘safety’ camera – no judgement, no consideration of circumstance, nothing other than “You’ve broken the law, you will pay”.
It’s easy revenue generation, and if there’s one thing we know about ‘the government’ (whoever that may be), fleecing motorists seems to be their sport, so you can guarantee this will happen.