Home > Life, Writing and Poetry > Do We Need What Auto Makers May Give Us?

Do We Need What Auto Makers May Give Us?

I saw a commercial this morning about the new Buick LaCrosse luxury car. I hadn’t seen it before, so the information on the thirty-second blurb was new to me. It seems that the vehicle has a new nav center that does nearly everything for you but butter your morning toast.

Alright, maybe it wasn’t quite that extreme, but the thought did cross my mind as I watched it. I have to admit that I didn’t catch on immediately as to what all the ad was talking about. Mindless commercial awareness is about the extend to which I pay such things. But a line or two definitely caught me off guard.

I know that computers have been running cars for well over a decade and each year the extent to which they control things to assist the driver is a bone of competition between auto makers. This new little innovation, however, seems to be taking us into waters uncharted successfully regarding autopilot.

The nav unit in the new Buick (and yes, I do understand that every time I use the name it becomes an ad in its own right) gives the driver much more than a simple navigation prompt. Touch a button and get an immediate local weather forecast from the closest weather station. Touch another button and hear any musical piece within the 10GB music memory that you’ve downloaded with your personal favorites.

The question I’ve been asking myself since I viewed this ad is how soon will it be before a cell phone will be built into the nav unit, along with a voice activated recorder, digital camera and small computer screen for watching YouTube while sitting in traffic jams? Think about it. There are those cars that already have the camera in the back and screen in the dash. Why not put a camera in the front, too, and have it kick in automatcially when the car is put in drive. At least then maybe the kids watching the little TV from the back seat can tell the driver that a collison is coming if he/she is on the phone.

People already have trouble keeping their minds on the road and existing traffic with their hands off their cell phones, coffee cups, makeup bags, etc. Have we become such a society of multi-taskers that we can no longer just sit behind the wheel and drive with safety and well-being in mind?

We already have a road rage problem in this country. People are living with short fuses attached to their tempers everywhere. Couple that with cell phones, texting behind the wheel and heaven knows what else and mayhem erupts sooner or later.

Writers, as a group, would probably love having a built-in recorder in the dashboard so that they could create scenarios within the privacy of their own vehicles, or capture the conversations taking place between their kids on the way to soccer practice or the football game. It would be great for just that purpose. Slide in a CD before taking off and work on the way to the day job, school, or play. Pop it out when you get home and pop it into the computer for download. It would be marvelous.

But would it really? Let’s think this thing through. If you are a writer, you may think as I do. I think in pictures. Words aren’t just words to me anymore than music is notes. They are pictures  conveying their meaning. When I’m dictating or typing, I still see only the picture the words convey. So, if I were doing the driving and using such a convenience as a built-in recorder I wouldn’t see the road at all. My mind would be inside the story that I was building with my words. I would be having multiple character conversations, swimming in shark-infested waters, crooning to a babe in a barn, whatever came to mind in those moments behind the wheel.

Would any sane person really want me behind the wheel, assuming, of course, that I actually got my eyesight back? I wouldn’t want me there, either. And I certainly wouldn’t want anyone in that position who had a tendency toward road rage. Cars are lethal weapons, after all.

What about the possibility of installing the small personal computer so that e-mails, etc., could be accomplished during those dead periods on the road? Do you really think that the average American driver would wait for the red light or traffic jam to use that convenience? Not me. Truth to tell, that thought terrifies me half to death. There really would be more dead periods on the road then. Only the kids, young ones, would really need to use the thing. Mom and Dad have their handy, dandy palm books, hand-held computers, etc. So do the teens. Now, there is a scary thought!

So, my question is this. Should we encourage any more small luxuries such as could be combined with the above said nav system to be placed into our vehicles? Should anyone have need for such things in their dash to take their already wandering minds off the traffic and pedestrians around them? Personally, I vote “NO!”

That’s my take on automotive advances for today, folks. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves and come to a consensus. But, don’t take too long. There could be one of those drivers in the car beside you at the light. You are using your hand-held  computer to read this, aren’t you? Just checking. What do you do behind the wheel of that rolling weapon?

A bientot,


Categories: Life, Writing and Poetry
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