I just tried to back up the ’15 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG… and it would not let me.
It snowed (and iced) last night and this morning, when I went outside to get the car ready for pick-up, the windshield, side glass and rear glass were encrusted with a layer of frozen slush. Since all I needed to do was back the car up a little then reposition it a bit – to make room for another car that being dropped off later today – I didn’t want to spend 10 minutes hacking away at ice. I figured I’d just inch the car forward and back with the door cracked open, so I could see what was going on enough to get the car lined up, parked where I wanted it it – and then go back inside (where it’s warm) for some more coffee.
The GLA had other ideas. As soon as I cracked open the door to have a look, the Benz went ballistic. The parking brake came on firmly; the transmission shifted itself out of gear. Forward (and rearward) motion was thus arrested.
Just like the belligerent buzzers that assault you if you attempt to drive almost any new/recent vintage car even 20 feet down the driveway to the mailbox without having first put on the got-damned seat belt. The got-damned buzzer will go off sometimes even if you’re “buckled up” …. but the Subway sandwich you put on the empty passenger’s seat isn’t. Uber-sensitive sensors in the seats think it’s a kid… and nothing is more important than the children… even when they’re a foot-long Italian.
The peremptory, intrusive – dictatorial – tendency of these “safety” systems is spiking my blood pressure. I’d like to know which kleine fuhrer within the Benz bureaucracy decided – for me – that I’m not to be allowed to back up my car with the door open? Well, okay, technically it’s not my car. But it could be. The fact is anyone who buys a new GLA – or any of several other cars that have similar systems (including the ’15 Chrysler 200 I recently reviewed) will be denied the choice to maneuver their vehicle as they see fit.
You will use the back-up camera, kinder… .
And that’s what it comes down to. We’re to be treated as children. Idiot children. Who cannot be trusted to do anything for ourselves – or rather, without “help” (and only in “approved” ways).
This is going to get much worse, soon.
The bits and pieces that – together – will congeal to create the autonomous car (which is a vicious lie, because it’s the furthest thing from being autonomous; it’s controlled by someone – something – else, instead of formerly autonomous you) are already in circulation. This park-as-we-tell-you-system is merely one of several.
* Lane Departure Warning – which pesters you with buzzers and lights if the car senses the wheels touching painted lines on the road, ostensibly to prevent people from wandering off the road or across the double yellow into the opposing lane of traffic. But these systems also do the Electronic Flipout Show when you pass another car, which often involves … crossing over painted lines on the road.
* Blind Spot Object Detection – which purports to detect other cars in your blind spot but which also does a fine job confusing earth berms and trees by the side of the road with other cars. Annoyed? Wait till you have to replace either side mirror “assembly” (into which the Electronic Flipout Show is built).
* Collision Mitigation/Braking – which assumes you’re so busy texting or beating off to Internet porn accessed via the in-car Wi-Fi (or playing on the in-car DVD) that you haven’t noticed stopped traffic up ahead and will pile-drive into it, if the computer doesn’t intervene and stop the car for you. But these systems want you to begin braking roughly 100 yards before you really need to (assuming you’re not beating off to Internet porn) and will absolutely freak out – or rather, freak you out – if you fail to do so. The Electronic Flipout Show – flashing red lights erupting, frantic buzzers buzzing.
Throw it all in the Woods!