At what point do you decide that technology has gone too far?
For me it was a few days ago when I played chicken with a large polystyrene block. When I decided that the big block was too stupid to duck out of the way, I skilfully turned the wheel and avoided a blizzard of white plastic. In fact, this was all happening on a test track and I was driving a super-intelligent new Honda CR-V which drew my attention to the impending collision with a series of buzzes, nudges and dabs on the brakes.
Obviously I didn’t need the car to tell me there was trouble ahead, I could see that for myself. I was playing a game. Pretending to be a school run mum dealing with the terrible triplets fighting in the rear seats. Or a motorway rep mid-Mars bar, searching his pockets for a trilling mobile phone. Here, in intelligent collision mitigation, we have a gadget designed for those time poor people who really can’t be bothered to treat driving as a serious business.
Full credit to Honda and the other manufacturers who are spending millions on developing this new tech. And I don’t doubt that collision mitigation may well prevent some truly terrible accidents. But I also couldn’t help thinking that cars are increasingly being designed around the lowest common denominator – the need to protect the really stupid from themselves.