Is Driving Now the Distraction?

Is Driving Now the Distraction?

AgeLab Research Scientists Bryan Reimer and Bobbie Seppelt with Ted Courtney of MIT's Senseable City Lab pen an essay in The Daily Beast on the changing nature of the relationship between drivers and highly (but not fully) automated vehicles.

Are new vehicle technologies making driving safer? Paradoxically, it appears the opposite effect is being produced:

Recent surges in auto crash frequencies and severity, dramatic gains in smartphone ownership among American adults, and a daily teen and adult reality in which the smartphone has become a “remote control” for one’s life suggest that driving may rapidly become the secondary task in the vehicle...

What is possible is that with each new layer of protection, we are likely to take some or all of the added safety benefits and offset them by engaging in more and more non-driving activities. In essence, we threaten to make mobility about how many things other than driving we can cram into our lives on the road and forfeit the safety benefits...

It is clear that the transformative levels of automation requiring human involvement will also require a surge in human-centric design, in another sense protecting us from ourselves.

Read the essay in full here.