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Are Manufacturers Prioritising Tech Features Over Practicality and Safety?

 Are Manufacturers Prioritising Tech Features Over Practicality and Safety?

(Posted on 05/02/24)

In the ever-evolving world of automotive technology, cars are no longer just means of transportation; they've transformed into sophisticated gadgets on wheels. The widespread shift towards digital controls and touchscreens has redefined the driving experience, though not everyone welcomes this influx of technology.

In the pursuit of streamlined, minimalist interiors, vehicles are now equipped with touchscreens that govern functions ranging from climate control to navigation. While this design appeals to some, a growing sentiment among drivers suggests that the abundance of technology may be causing frustration rather than convenience. This raises a fundamental question: Are manufacturers incorporating features solely for their technological prowess, without due consideration for practicality?

An inevitable consequence of this technological surge is the substantial increase in the cost of vehicles. The average price of a vehicle has surged by £12,000 in the last five years, particularly with the introduction of electric cars and cutting-edge technology. As manufacturers integrate the latest technological features, the financial barrier to entry becomes more pronounced for consumers.

Despite these challenges, there is a positive outcome – heightened safety. Driven by the pursuit of coveted five-star ratings from the National Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), manufacturers are compelled to integrate advanced safety features. From automatic emergency braking to reverse braking assistance and lane assists, these safety technologies significantly enhance the value of cars but also contribute to rising costs.

While the integration of technology presents challenges, it is imperative to acknowledge the positive strides being made in enhancing vehicle safety. The evolving industry prompts manufacturers to strike a delicate balance between technological innovation and practicality, ensuring that technology enhances the driving experience rather than becoming a source of frustration.

As the automotive industry hurtles towards a digitised future, concerns emerge regarding the potential drawbacks of this technological surge. Drivers are increasingly expressing concerns about the complexity of modern cars, raising questions about ease of navigation and repair. The competitive race among manufacturers to outdo each other technologically has led to an excess that, some argue, may be doing more harm than good.

Moreover, the surge in high-tech vehicles has significantly increased the cost of repairs. The integration of new safety features and technology has made the repair process more intricate, with each safety addition and technological component carrying its own high repair cost.

A notable concern centres around the prominent touchscreens in cars, displaying a lot of information. Despite restrictions on phone use while driving, there is a contradictory worry that these screens may be no less distracting, potentially posing risks akin to mobile phones. The ability of these screens to connect to phones, displaying texts and calls, raises questions about their true safety benefits.

In contemplating these concerns, a critical question arises – has the relentless pursuit of technological advancements gone too far? Are traditional buttons and knobs, once considered safer, being overshadowed by technology intended to enhance safety? Striking a balance between innovation and practicality is a crucial challenge for the automotive industry as it endeavours to ensure that the technological leap forward indeed translates into safer, more accessible driving experiences, rather than a descent into complexity and distraction.

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