Keeping driving simple is a thing of the past

"What we drive in the 21st century is also allowing technology to isolate us from the whole process of driving."

As the Christmas Season envelopes us it seems technology makes us less a part of the whole process. Christmas is a time for giving but giving in the 21st century is no more than a mouse click, tap or swipe.

Looking for the best, cheapest, most popular, highest rated is only a “google” away. Many of us will buy something without even seeing it. We will take some complete stranger’s word for it.  The one with five stars is the one I want. I am as guilty as anyone. I have chosen products based on the number of stars.

What about actually choosing something after trying it out. Touching it, seeing it live, hearing it live and making your own decision.

What we drive in the 21st century is also allowing technology to isolate us from the whole process of driving.  Somewhere along the way the powers that be decided we want vehicles that require less involvement from the driver.  It came disguised as safety features.

Features like anti lock braking systems, electronic stability control, automatic transmissions, power steering cannot even be deleted from the most basic of vehicles.  Each one of these systems purpose was designed to make driving easier and safer.  Have any of them improved the breed; ie made us better drivers?  I don’t think so.

We are now going into the era of drive by wire.  Soon there will only be software between the drivers inputs and the vehicles outputs.  The gas pedal is now only an electrical input.  Press on the pedal for full power and an algorithm determines exactly how much power to allow so no tires spin.

Cruise control will now maintain a safe distance between your’s and the vehicle ahead of you.  Try to change lanes when there is a vehicle in your blind spot and your steering will kick back at you. Don’t you dare.

Enter the new Mercedes S Class.  This vehicle is generally used as the benchmark for the future.  This car can find speed bumps and adapt its suspension to make them nearly transparent.  This car will drive for periods of time without your hands on the wheel.  Minutes can go by without any input from the driver.  Are we ready for this degree of noninvolvement?

I was lucky enough this weekend to be driving a go kart on a race course.  The experience was amazing.  Involvement at its purest.  The steering is direct. No power assist.  You are sitting on the track.  There is no suspension just the flexing of the steel frame.  Gas pedal and brake mechanically connected.  Oversteer and understeer always present.  Only your skill level between one and the other.  Consequences for mistakes? Always.

Can I still drive?  It is hard work.  It requires concentration and focus. Pure fun. No algorithms,  electronic nannies to keep you on the track.  Only a 15 year old between me and a first place finish.  Dradtz!

Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC.

E-mail: nutechauto@telus.net

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Photo:  Black Press Media
Greater Trail RCMP urge locals to stay off the roads

By noon there were four commercial tractor trailers stuck on hills in the Trail area

RNG plant
Construction on ground-breaking RNG plant in Fruitvale set to go in spring 2021

REN Energy partners with Calgary engineering firm for innovative West Kootenay gas plant

Terry Miller won the Rossland byelection.on Saturday.  Photo: Terry Miller
Rossland voters select Terry Miller as new councillor

City of Rossland releases results of advance voting and final voting day of council byelection

Katrine Conroy’s swearing in ceremony. Photo: Kootenay West Katrine Conroy Facebook
Forestry Minister West Kootenay MLA Katrine Conroy talks about her new role

Conroy will also oversee Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Treaty

Seven Deers carved Shinning Raven Woman out of Labradorite harvested from the Canadian Shield. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Sculpture by Indigenous artist to be erected in Grand Forks

Civic leaders have rallied behind the project by Grand Forks’ David Seven Deers

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read