“Assistance” Technology

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Idiot proofing is now out in the open. It’s just called something else – to make the idiots feel better about it.  The car manufacturers style this idiot-proofing “assistance” technology – usually “advanced.” 

Sometimes, “intelligent” – because they regard you as not.

There is nothing wrong with seeking assistance when you need it. Disabled people, for instance, often need assistance getting up and down stairs. But it’s insulting to offer it to a person who doesn’t need it – and obnoxious to force it on him. Imagine someone taking your elbow as you began walking up a flight of stairs, for instance. Imagine there were “assisters” standing at the foot of every stair case, who would peremptorily take the arm of every able-bodied person trying to walk up the stairs on their own.

This is the kind of “assistance” being installed in practically every new car.

It encompasses Lane Keep Assist – a system that presumes you’re so addled or incompetent that you cannot on your own keep the car within the boundaries of the yellow painted center line to your left and the white painted line to your right demarcating the shoulder.

There is Brake Assist, because apparently the foundational driving skill of applying the brakes as necessary is something many people now require . . . assistance with. 

And there is “intelligent” Speed Limit Assist . . . because you’re obviously not intelligent enough to read the sign or decide for yourself what speed to drive – adjusting it, yourself, as conditions warrant.

You’d think they’re trying to “assist” us to the point where the driver no longer needs any – because he’s no longer driving the car at all. Bit by bit and model year by model year they seem to be herding us toward that end, gradually easing us into acquiescence via all of this “assistance.”

You’d think more people would at least be insulted.

“Assistance”? To maneuver the car into a curbside parking spot? There was a time when being able to perform this basic act of driving competence was part of the test one had to pass in order to get a license to drive. If you couldn’t, you didn’t.

Because you probably shouldn’t. 

Some will protest and say that this is unfair to those who do need “assistance” in order to be able to curbside park or keep their car within its travel lane; that they would be excluded from driving were it not for the beneficent equalizer of the “assistance” technology. That it is necessary to be able to drive (even if the car is doing it)  in order to fully function in our society.  

There’s truth in this. 

But it’s not availability of assistance that’s objectionable. Or rather, no reasonable – no compassionate – person would withhold assistance from those who require it. Recall the iconic image of a Boy Scout helping an old woman cross the street. The problem lies in treating everyone as if they were an old woman who needs help to cross the street – or curbside park. 

Imagine coming home to find your toilet has been fitted with Advanced Butt Wipe Assist Technology. Imagine that no store sells just a toilet anymore. Being able to take care of your business is one of those basic competences that separates adults from toddlers – and adults from older adults who do need assistance with that basic competence. 

There is no shame in not being able to take care of your business – and it is fine and good that “assistance” is available for those who cannot. But is it not a degradation to treat everyone as if they were in need of such “assistance” and – worse – to make them buy it?

Things like Lane Keep Assist and Brake Assist – and all the other iterations of “assistance” – may have a place in some places, just as wheelchair lifts and hand controls have a place in some places. But the rest of us ought not to have to deal with such “assistance” anymore than we ought to have to deal with a robotic arm or some such attempting to take care of our backsides for us after a number two. 

Perhaps the most insufferable iteration of “advanced assistance technology” is that which is styled Pro. As in Pro Pilot Assist (to cite one of several iterations of this usage currently in use by various car companies). It is etymologically jarring to the literate ear to find this prefix used when it is used to denote exactly the opposite thing. If you are a “pro” at anything then the very last thing you are in need of is “assistance” with that thing.

A “pro” at backing up a trailer, for example, does not need Trailer Back-up Pro technology. A person who hasn’t mastered the skill of reversing a trailer does – because he is an amateur.

The binary opposite of a “pro.”

All of this “assistance” serves to turn the generations raised with it into people who need it – in the manner of a toddler who never learns to wipe his own butt because someone was always “assisting” him with this task – right through to adulthood.

Soon – courtesy of the Biden Thing (who probably needs “assistance” in the butt wiping department) we will have cars that “assist” us right to the side of the road. They will stop driving altogether when they decide we’re not driving in the Approved Manner. It will be the ultimate form of driver “assistance” technology – and we’ll be very far advanced, indeed.

. . .

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117 COMMENTS

  1. Recently(last August) bought a 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SE. It has some annoying things like the tranny shifter on the dash instead of where it’s supposed to be…on the steering column. Another irritating thing is the annoying warnings like the one that warns about low tire pressure. I have no idea what else there is, at least there’s no annoying Karen warning me about potential disasters. It could be worse, it could be the voice of a whining Jewish American princess.
    I bought it as it’s my fourth van. The first one was a 1967 Chevy Van with a 283 and positrac. Great vehicle especially for transporting multiple guitars and huge amp stack.
    Today I use my van for hauling R/C planes to and from the field. For some reason they seem to be getting larger.

  2. The problem here is the dealers always order cars with all of this techno-crap on them. I could afford a new truck, if I could find one that didn’t have all this expensive junk on it. The only way to do it now is to order a vehicle with the options you want. Then the option packages may have one thing you want, but you have to get twelve other things you don’t want and the package cost is a couple to several thousands of dollars.

  3. The problem with idiot – proofing, as I have discovered in my career as an automation / controls engineer is: They keep coming out with better idiots.

  4. I agree with all of your insights. The problem though is how does one find a decent car without all of this crap? Yes there is used, but each year that means going back even further to avoid these “updates” We are being forced to live with all of this even though some of us are smart enough to know how to drive. My first car that I got in the 70’s was a 67 Valiant. no air cond., no radio, little heat, poor ventilation. poor brakes, poor tires(though that was because I couldn’t afford better). Overall a junk. But I learned (or knew) how to drive it in spite of all of these shortcomings. Drivers now a days don’t want to learn how to drive.

    • Just like there are many who don’t want to learn how to drive, there are plenty who don’t want to look at just how easy it is to pick up a great “classic” car at a fraction of what even a ten year old car goes for these days.

      Compared to brand new, it’s a no-brainer. Japan’s emissions requirements force people to remove perfectly good engines at 30k miles and replace it with a new engine if they don’t want to buy a new car. All of those engines come to the US and are sold for pennies on the dollar. Slap that into something with a blown engine, and your good to go for probably the rest of your life.

      There are also a lot of companies selling used running engines of all makes and models.

    • Ken, they’re still out there. I just bought a 1998 Jaguar XK8 convertible on bringatrailer.com. They have low-mileage vintage cars with lots and lots of pictures. My Jag had less than 5,000 miles on it. For a 24-year old car. I had to replace the tires, but the interior still smells like a new car.

      So you can still find older cars without all the tech crap.

  5. Its about total control/tracking of you and your vehicle under the guise of giving a shoot about you. Another thing is with the coming dieoff (due to who knows what )if too many people croak while driving it will cause utter chaos on the roads so a way to mitigate that disaster is cars that can take control when the clot shots take full effect.

    • Hi Billy,

      I think the main object here is to make driving suffocatingly unpleasant, bit by bit – to get more and more people sick of driving. If successful, it will not be necessary to ban driving – or cars. People just won’t want to drive (or own a car) anymore.

      • I’ve noticed that when kids are old enough to get a license, most of them just pass. They already know there’s no point in bothering because they can’t afford any of it. I’ve been aggressively working on cutting down on my trips into town. I wait until I’ve got a long list of things to do. The goal is to get to a point where I’m taking no more than two or three trips into town all year. By that time, I won’t need a car. I can just rent one two or three times a year, and probably save a bundle, not to mention avoid all those government headaches.

  6. I had to laugh thinking of Lane Assistance technology: first thought was it would be great in Uruguay, since apparently everyone learned to drive through playing with slot cars. Second thought was Lane Assistance technology in Uruguay would probably be adapted to help people drive on the lines instead of between them!

    • Hi Barry,

      The thing that astounds me is that more people aren’t wrecking because of Lane Keep Assist. As a guy who test drives new cars, I am used to this “technology.” But if you haven’t had the steering wheel suddenly pull you to the left or right, it could easily be over-reacted to (as often happens when a new driver lets an outside wheel drop off the pavement onto the shoulder and over-corrects). I imagine older people with weaker grip/arm strength are especially susceptible.

      • Eric,

        There may have already been a high-profile lane keep assist accident. As far as I know, the official cause of Tiger Woods’s recent crash wasn’t made public. He didn’t have alcohol or any other substance in his system at the time (at least, that’s what I’ve read).

        There was an article on the accident about a week after it happened, and in the comments section was a woman who claimed to have the same make and model SUV as Woods and described how she nearly had an accident. One day she slowly tried to pass a truck on the interstate, but the vehicle kept drifting back to the right. Every time she tried to steer left (over-correcting), the vehicle would cut more sharply back to the right. She said the car almost flipped before she was able to get it back under control. She later learned that her car had lane assist technology and thought that Tiger may have found himself in a similar situation. Definitely food for thought, if true. Because of Tiger’s fame, it would have been a big blow to this technology in the minds of car buyers.

        If you think about how computers have sometimes wrested control of an aircraft from some of the most experienced pilots, imagine the average driver having to contend with automation when it does something unexpected…

        • If that’s true it sounds like a giant lawsuit waiting to happen. Maybe a seven figure fine would put a halt to this nonsense.

        • Yeah, MCAS plunged 2 passenger jets into the ground at around 400 mph before the faa did something about it. Having 100 car manufacturers with all kinds of random programming and automatic updates is definitely contributing to accidents. But the good news is its a lot easier to blame a driver than to sweep a jumbo jet crash under the rug. The average person cant hire investors and lawyers to figure out which components or programs caused them to crash, and they will probably point to the speed limit anyways so even if your sports car veers off of a straight smooth road at 100 mph due to software its your fault cause the speed limit is 55 mph.

          Apperently Mazdas caught an npr bug. They only play npr and the entertainment system cant do anything else. You have no idea what kind of random glitches cars can have

      • Yes, Eric. I agree. I flew into Denver and rented a Kia something or other. As I was driving to the hotel late at night, the stupid car kept pulling on me. I thought it had blown a tie rod. The next day, I discovered the off button for the stupid lane assist. Much better then. Also, the stupid ASS defaults on. Every time you get in the damn car, you have to switch it off. No thanks.

  7. Looking back fondly upon my pretty poor but pretty happy days wearing out the already worn out Volare, VW or Chevette, my ‘assistance technology’ consisted of me yelling at the kids to push harder while popped the clutch to get us going, lol.

  8. Two of my next door neighbors went out and got their pilot’s licence. One just bought himself a plane. There are still a LOT of government regulations and hoops to jump through, but they don’t have some pervert playing with their junk.

    Ultimately, if you want to get away from government insanity, you’re going to have to leave the country, or find a good place to hide.

    • Hi Schnarkle,

      I am very seriously considering signing up for flight school. The one thing that may kibosh that is a diaper requirement to attend the school, which is held at my local airport – where (I think) the diaper rules apply and are enforced. I am going to ask about it. I missed the sessions that began in January but that may be a good thing as by the time the next (new) classes begin, the diaper nonsense may be over regardless.

  9. My last new car was a 2018 Volkswagen Jetta. Foolishly, as it turned out, I purchased the premium model. It included assistance features I found distracting, irritating and dangerous. I sold it after a year of that torture. Now I drive a 1982 Fiat Spider and a 2008 Saab 9-3. I will never buy another new car. I do not want a computer on wheels.

  10. Seems to me that the more of this driving assistance crap they add, the more likely your are to stop paying attention to the road and driving. You become a brain dead driver. No way I would trust technology like this to always preform as intended. There will eventually be a “glitch” of some kind and then it’s lights out.

  11. I had read somewhere, that there is a proposal to install kill switches in new vehicles. Is there any truth to this? Oh, but I am sure such a switch is for our saaaaaafety.

  12. Great article.

    My wife tells our car, “Shut up Karen”. Whenever it tells us we need to do something.

    Imagine a government that cares so much, they make you pay extra to always have Karen along in the car with you?

    And do you know why they have to do force this nonsense on us through regulations? It’s because even as brain dead as the average boobus Americanus is, they still wouldn’t Voluntarily pay to have Karen nagging in their ear all the time.

    • Thanks, Brad!

      I think part of what’s driving this – so to speak – is also that car companies are out of ideas. Or rather, they are battling with the problem of every new car coming with the equipment which used to differentiate cars; e.g., power everything, AC, a good stereo – even sunroofs. So what to do? Tout the latest electronic bauble… it’ll keep you saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe!

      • The auto companies want across-the-board mandates so that everyone has to pay for the added expense and they’ll profit from the markup.

      • Honestly id pay extra not to have that shit. If Suzuki launched the early 200s vitara as a 2023 model, it would probably sell pretty well. Too bad gotta have “safety” i just want a practical compact 4×4 that hasnt already been beaten to death

        • Ditto that, Anon!

          How about – and I know some will laugh – the old Geo Tracker? For about $15k, say. A fun little 4×4 for knocking around in that also got pretty good gas mileage.

      • And to think this all started with a little known lawyer who complained about the driving characteristics of the Chevy Corvair.
        Ralph Nader.
        Since then the safety Nazis have been saving us from our selves for our own good, you see.

  13. These assist features aren’t even safety features. In the hierarchy of risk mitigation, the assistance is relates closest to “Engineering Controls”. But a true engineering control is more like a guard on a lawnmower or a reinforced car frame, it compliments personal responsibility because it’s impossible to be 100% on the ball at all times. If the operator is responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle, and “Assistance” features are features that override the operator, how can they possibly be safety features? It’s human stupidity in physical form is what it is!

    To be clear, I’m a bit more safety conscious than the average person. I’ve had WAY too many close calls/injuries to take any more “safety shortcuts”. Heck, I’ll even don rubber gloves before I remove a breaker panel cover, and I’m probably one of six people in the world who actually reads and follows those warning labels. That’s just me. But so many “safety” features (especially in modern vehicles) merely seek to override the user. Sometimes a dumb machine that you have full control (thus full responsibility) over is the safer option.

    • Morning, BD!

      One of the most singularly annoying saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety “features” ever conjured is the automatic “kill switch” for push and riding mowers. You can’t let go of the god-damned handle of the push mower to grab a drink or whatever – because if you do, the mower cuts off and now you have to pull start the SOB again. Get off the seat on the rider – or just shift in the seat – and the mower’s engine cuts off. Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety! I gut these “features” as a matter of course.

      • I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a clamp, or some similar aftermarket feature rigged to their lawnmower to keep it running. It reminds me of a car my dad bought in 1970 which had an incredibly loud and obnoxious buzzer that alerted the driver that their seat belt was no being used properly. He just pulled the thing out and tied a knot to prevent it from ever buzzing again. Eventually, he got around to removing the fuse.

        • I had a ’74 Pinto with the seat belt interlock system. You couldn’t start the thing unless the belt were fastened. When the cheap plastic buckle broke, I had to clip the wires to the sensor under the seat to get it started.

      • Actually, that “safety” feature has come in handy for me when I ran over yellow jacket nests with a self-propelled lawn mower. When that happens, you need to get the hell away – FAST. GOK where the mower would have ended up if it hadn’t stopped automatically.

        • Hi Barry,

          I can see that. But in general, it’s obnoxious, Karen-type “technology.” Especially as regards push mowers, which don’t move unless you’re pushing them. It’s immensely aggravating to have to hold that stupid handle to keep it running.

          • I mowed a steep hillside with a cheap walmart mower by adjusting the throttle wide open, tying a rope to the handel and I lowered & pulled with the rope. A spring clamp works just as well for holding the safety switch while walking behind it.

            Unfortunately car safeties are more advanced.

  14. I’m not surprised it’s Nissan pushing that “Pro” idiocy. Have you noticed their new ads which begin by saying “You are an electric machine” or some such drivel?

    https://www.wardsauto.com/industry-news/nissan-s-electric-themed-ad-most-viewed-car-commercial

    It’s infuriating on several levels. I’m not sure which is the worst, making a ev’s out to be human or making humans out to be nothing but machines. In either case, the recycling issue remains untouched.

  15. With cars I think it started with public acceptance of mandatory seatbelt laws – being the assumption that we’re too stupid to decide whether to use the seatbelt or not for ourselves and our kids with the horrible car seats. Where are seatbelts in the Consitution or the ability to mandate something that affects no one else besides the person making the decision? Once that bridge was crossed the genie is out of the bottle and anything is fair game. This has been long in the making and there is no logical end where it stops because a majority of the public is fine with being humiliated. I think the feminization of society is a large part of it. .

    • I agree, Mark –

      General acceptance of “buckle up” laws established the principle, which has been expanded ever since. It also established the psychological precedent, perhaps even more relevant. The preoccupation with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety directly tracks with the advent of seatbelt (and child seat) laws. It also accelerated the preoccupation in that kids who grew up this way grew up conditioned to be obsessed with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety and fearful of cars and driving. Gen X and older are the last cohort who remember the Before Times.

    • Yeah and of course, who in their right mind would have listened to someone in Congress arguing against those seat belt and child seat laws? Us of course, but the average person would be like ‘Well I buckle up already so no big deal forcing it’ or ‘What, do you support people dying?!’

      And Eric, I am a Millennial who remembers driving 500 miles in the back of a 90’s minivan, seats removed, with my sister and I unbuckled with the family dog underneath blanket forts reading and playing with the Gameboy. But yeah, Get X as a whole are the last to truly appreciate it.

    • Well said Mark, and very perceptive. A hallmark of intelligence is the ability to think in abstractions. The philosophical principle behind the seatbelt mandate is exactly the same as that behind vaccine mandates. Were these bad ideas contained in the realm of though it wouldn’t be a problem. However, that law is a demolition of the very legal foundations of our civilization. It was a red sash whose premise was taken and has corrupted

      I know many young people who worship Elon Musk and when I ask them, “Why do you want to buy a sports car and have it drive itself?”, they can’t answer. They have never thought it through, because they are not taught how to think. As Eric points out, you merely need to say, “safety”, and it is a good idea to them. It is like another young person who was overjoyed when Trump was kicked off of Twitter. She was incapable of understanding the cognitive dissonance of a powerful, evil dictator in the brink of destroying our civilization whose position was so weak he couldn’t/didn’t control the communications apparatus of the state. I don’t think she knows what these things are anyways. There is no time to think when constantly taking bites in between a feast TikTok. I asked her, “How do you think it is going to work out after your group builds all of the tools of a tyrannical state and all of the people you have gleefully kicked down and pissed off get control of it?” No answer.

      That is the down side. The up side is that we are men and we are presented with a golden opportunity. While these buffoons and their progeny are going to stay in and regress to ever more pathetic infantile states, we and our progeny can choose to become stronger and ever more adult. There is tremendous opportunity as bleak as things seem. Become the best at what you do. Nurture your children, nieces, nephews, grand children … to become the best and master skills that are essential. Quietly, build the new companies or get into a leadership role at another company. It shouldn’t be hard.

      Oh and teach your son how to drive and do real things in the real world. He will have all the girls – or at least all of the right ones, lined up around the block to be with a real man.

  16. Perhaps because many have little desire to develop any skill that does not involve a mouse or a game console attached to a computer or a cell phone. Kind of like the latest iterations of a car’s dashboard. Such takes time, many mistakes, possible pain, lots of defeats before significant victory. It’s not easy, and often much frustration instead of fun.

  17. Love the main picture. Demonstrates how all the nannies see us.

    Mandatory safety is just control. It’s not there FOR you, it’s there because of you. Because the man thinks you are stupid and knows what’s best for you.

    And every time I see one of those commercials that backs up a trailer for the driver, I hiss at the TV. You don’t need a trailer or truck if you can’t back the damn thing up. That should be the test right there.

    • Amen, Dan –

      It’s about control – and one method of doing that is degradation. Whether “masks” or back-up cameras, they are telegraphing that they regard us as stupid cattle.

      • Apperantly, stupid cattle can share ideas, at least. Why should we care what “They” think? I know we give them power by acknowledging their bullshit. Stop the acknowledgment. Let them stutter

        • That’s true, Zeke –

          The battle – as always – is for the 20-30 percent of the population who aren’t cattle. The cattle always follow their lead.

      • In my old age, I’m getting to a point where the stupid cattle analogy is becoming more applicable. If there were no seat belt reminder bell ringing, eventually I’d forget to put my seat belt on. That thing has me trained to put my seat belt on just so I don’t have to listen to it.

        The battery in my “smart” phone overheated and fried the phone. I don’t want to pay $200.00 for another phone so I no longer have a gps telling me how to get anywhere. I’ve noticed that I don’t drive very far away anymore because I’ve become so reliant upon having an updated map at my fingertips. However, the last few times I did use the thing, it literally instructed me to drive completely around the block. I suspect there are a lot of people who would follow those instructions without a thought.

  18. Assistance technology is analogous to vaccine and mask mandates, you need to be assisted to be a functioning brainwashed vaccinated genetically modified zombie with a sail fawn to tell you what to do. You become a robot, mandated to act appropriately, if not, no social credit for you.

    I get phone calls of one person testing positive. Then another, then another, then one more.

    Everybody is testing positive. Everybody is exposed to Covid. It is unbelievable, some even get sick enough to die. How can that be? What gives?

    “Stop quoting your laws, we have swords.” – General Pompey

    “Stop quoting your mandates, we have trucks.” – Canadian truckers

  19. I am on the same page, I don’t want any assistance driving the car; and I want the car simple as possible so I can keep it running without “assistance” from high tech gadgets needed just to diagnose a problem. I like simple, the simplier and more reliable the better.

    But with all that said, I am not most people. I predict the dumbed down public will love all the new gadgets, warnings noises, flashing lights, and assistance technology. If they build it they will buy it, and I wouldn’t even doubt for one second they did surveys to find out what the public wanted. And you all know the more they make the car idiot proof, the more idiotic the people who buy it.

    Remember that wealthy guy who came to America on a vacation and bought a big RV to see the countryside? On this first leg he turned on the cruise control then walked to the back of the RV. Must of thought it was autopilot or something. Totally wrecked his rig.

    Over at your local car manufacturer headquarters, they have a big building with floors of engineers needing to do something. So they invent all this new stuff and they market it, then they sell it, and the other manufacturer sees their sales go up so they will get busy with their engineers to copy it. The government will also get involved, the FBI will want the engineers to put in a backdoor so they can use the assistance technology to stop the car, or maybe the CIA wants to off a political dissident, by ramming the car into a tree or large mass of concrete.

    I saw a video yesterday of a guy with a brand new Tesla, who can’t get into the car because the conformal door handle was frozen solid. Maybe he can try pissing on it to free it up. Last month I read about a guy in North Carolina who couldn’t get his “automatic” heat in his brand new Tesla to come on. The car was an ice box. How much did he pay to have a cold car? He went to the dealer 3 times, but it keeps failing. So high tech no one can fix it, sorta like that F-35 Lockheed Martin makes, it is very good at one thing and that it always needs more public funding.

    • I talked to the owner of a garage who buys used cars at auction. He informed me that the big three automakers make better running vehicles, but that all the fancy new gizmos are made in China and will inevitably fail within a few years. So when that fancy touchscreen fails, good luck figuring out what radio station you’re on, and forget about backing up because by that time, people will have forgotten how to back up without a backup camera.

      • Backup camera is necessary cause the car is shaped to limit rear visability I have no issue borrowing a 20+ year old junker, its easy on the mind. but renting a car is a tedious process of turning off all of the assists and turning on any kind of performance features every time I start it.

  20. Glad to see common sense on somewhere in the interwebs. I have been reading with interest articles and comments of similiarly disposed folks here. My cars seem new to me (06 Jetta TDI, 03 Excursion 4×4 dsl) and my kitchen phone stays, well, in the kitchen. Some might think me old fashioned or backwards but its working out well, I’d say. I’m not chained to a tracking device, I can read a map, I drive the car/truck, and the odds are in my favor that I will get to where I need to be when I need to be there. Between the two vehicles I have driven almost 500,000 miles with little mishap and I’ve seen much of the US and Canada in the last 5 years. And I took the kids and made them live without, too. Suffice to say they have seen and done many things their peers can’t even relate to; they learned to read maps and generally be self sufficient. Yep, I’m raising a bunch of radicals who can tie their own shoes, grow, kill and cook their own dinner and drive a standard transmission.
    Motor on, Eric and Company!

  21. Just my humble opinion…
    One of the most dangerous systems on today’s cars is “traction control”…
    If going up a slippery hill where speed needs to be maintained, quite often traction control takes over when even a minimal amount of slippage is detected and attempts to reduce speed, just what you don’t need…
    I have seen vehicles slide down a hill because “traction control” took over and would not allow the driver to maintain enough speed to traverse the hill.
    I realize that some of these systems can be disabled, but if you are on a potentially dangerous hill it is already too late.

    • I had a faulty sensor in my car that caused the TC to trap me in an intersection while a semi was barreling toward me. There must’ve been some common sense in those engineers, because the computer supervisory system realized the problem, my dashboard idiot lights lit up like a crashing Boeing, and it disabled the system. After that I was able to clear the intersection. The so-called “safety system” almost killed me!

      • Big daddy – was that a 2008 ish Toyota? I had that happen in a rental highlander. The system didnt turn off it just cuts power when you need it, then lets you move after a second.

    • I just found out why my traction control wasn’t working properly, or rather why I was having so much trouble disengaging it. Rather than reading the owner’s manual which is as thick as War and Peace, and just as entertaining; I assumed that one need only press the button, and seeing the light go off; just assumed that was all there was to it. Wrong. The button needs to be pressed for five whole seconds before traction control AND the stability feature are both deactivated. Now I can power through when I lose traction instead of stalling and rolling into a ditch.

  22. The “high tech” toilet:
    1. Has a touchscreen
    2. Requires batteries to operate
    3. Electronically controlled flush valve
    4. Can be “connected” to a smart phone
    5. Remote “seat pre-warmer” for those chilly mornings
    6. Analyzes poop for COVID-19
    7. Analyzes pee for whatever the government dictates.
    8. Semi-automatic electric butt wipe
    9. Low paper indicator

    Look for it soon at a Home Depot near you… the “Regal” throne.
    Yet another manifestation of “digital dementia.”

  23. I used to drive a semi. “ASSist” (yes, you can steal this spelling) technology would do absolutely no good to the new driver learning to back up a trailer. Why? Because then they’d never learn how to do it, they would become too dependent on technology. Trial and error, making lots of mistakes (and hopefully not hitting anything in the process) is the only way to learn. All this “ASSist” technology is doing is creating worse and worse drivers as time goes on. Every generation will become less and less capable. How many people (well, younger people) can even drive a car with rear-wheel drive properly? Or without anti-lock brakes? Probably not very many.

    • Imagine how bad it is in a modern airliner. If the assist systems fail there how likely is a diversity hire pilot really going to be able to fly the thing in adverse conditions?

      • Hi Mark!

        I’ll never find out – re how bad it is in modern airliners – for I shall not enter one of those things again. It is hard to imagine any vacation/destination worth the degradation and sheer ugliness of cramming oneself into a tube full of face-diapered Freaks, being lectured by a tranny “flight attendant” for several insufferable hours. If I ever fly again, it will be in my own airplane.

          • Ditto, Myles –

            Last time I flew commercially was in 2016. Never again – so long as one must queue up to be groped and otherwise handled by some Mall Security Guard in a blue outfit. The “masks” sealed the deal for me.

            • There are websites that advertise flights on private planes. Sorry I don’t have the links, but these flights aren’t much more expensive than flying commercial, especially if you have a group. The owners sell space on their planes when they’re “deadheading” somewhere. The catch is that you have to find a flight that’s going your way, or go wherever they’re going. It’s sort of a variation of cruising on freighters. At some point, these options will become more popular as people begin to head for the exits in greater numbers.

      • Oh, they’ll be able to fly it. That’s not the problem, the problem is will the bird be re-usable after the event. This is a known and common problem already. I personally have encountered runway incursions by diversity hires/diversity promotions. When you put an unqualified girl at the controls of a passenger liner and she pulls onto the runway in front of a landing passenger liner, it is a close call. And nothing against the girl, but when you push and promote beyond the level of current ability it is begging for trouble.

  24. My dad isn’t one to watch TV much, but he’s been doing do due to the Olympics. He was a little perplexed about a commercial in which the drivers of a certain new vehicle nearly crash into a taco truck, only saved by their “brake assist”. He’s been lamenting people trying to create an idiot-proof world since I was little. But the attempts continue.

    Also there was a commercial in which the power goes out, and the people use their electric truck as an alternate power source. “Who in the hell is going to plug their house into their truck?!” He asks.

  25. I really like having adaptive cruise control. But to get it I had to take all the other stuff. Luckily there’s a button that turns the other stuff off.

    However, adaptive cruise isn’t perfect. It drives like a teenager. When passing it takes far too long to resume set speed, so there’s still plenty of manual override.

    One argument for autonomous vehicles is that there’s “collective” driving experience as the vehicles form a hive mind. But I wonder if they actually get better at driving or just become more defensive?

    • Hi RK,

      In re: “One argument for autonomous vehicles is that there’s “collective” driving experience as the vehicles form a hive mind. But I wonder if they actually get better at driving or just become more defensive?”

      I can conceive of nothing more likely to make me want to stop driving altogether than being forced to drive according to some “collective” parameters as regards driving. The whole point – well, the whole point of it being enjoyable – is to be in control of the car; to drive it at your pace/skill level. Take that away and you might as well just ride the bus.

  26. The so called ‘assistance’, forced on us by big Guv is dangerous. I am the captain of my ship, not some big tech algorithm. I recently rented a car to travel to Bullhead City Az. The reason, because interstate 40 between Seligman and Williams is one of the shitiest roads I’ve driven on. Unfilled potholes all over the place going East. When you’re doing 80-90 MPH it really jacks up your vehicle.

    So I rented a car and was given a new ford fusion. As I’m driving and changing lanes, without signaling it felt like the front wheels were coming off. Like a damn ride at an amusement park. The first time was rather startling, then after multiple occurrences the stupid thing starts dinging at me with a light telling me “YOUR TIRED, pull over, get some coffee. All because I wasn’t signaling. The road was empty FFS. The most annoying part was every time I stoped at a red light the freaking thing shut down. Then it would lurch back to life when you gave it some gas.

    If this is the kind of crap Ford is going to build, they’re dead to me. Some smart lawyer FP? maybe, should get a class action lawsuit going against the big three. We should all get our share of bailout money back. They took the Government cheese and now discriminate against those of us who are still competent enough to operate under our own power.

    • (1) I recently drove I-40 in “Arid-Zona”, between Seligman and Williams (actually picked up the freeway in Kingman, took it all the way that evening to Gallup, NM, I was with my #2 son in his truck, on his move to Fort Worth, TX), and will attest to how badly maintained the freeway is. When you’re in a Dodge Dakota, loaded down with a heavy toolchest and other belongings, you feel EVERY bump.

      (2) I own one of those “con-Fusions”, a 2002 SE, to be exact, and yeah, I share your frustration at all the “driver assist” crap they’ve burdened the vehicle with. You can go into the menu and make adjustments on the lane assist. I routinely turn the “auto shut-off” function “OFF”, as, IMO, it’ll just wear out the starter that much faster, and the fuel saved is negligible, and for in-town driving, set it to “sports mode” anyway. But that damned “you’re tired” warning…I haven’t been able to find a way to get rid of it, and I get that crap on long trips.

      What I’ve heard is in store, thanks to those noodle-brains in DC, is to mandate all new rides have either a built in breathalyzer, or some form of eye-reading metrics or coordination tests, as used by cops (and you’re not legally required to submit to them, but if you’re underage or are on probation for DUI, with presumably a restricted license, you have to submit to the roadsize “preliminary” breathalyzer, else you can be arrested for ‘refusal’, same as a “normal” driver that refuses the chemical test) when “investigating” for DUI. (Note: if the cop asks you to “walk the line”, recite the alphabet, or perform some manner of hand-eye coordination test, likely (s)he’s already decided to arrest you for DUI, the “test” is bogus, as inevitably you’ll “fail”, and indeed, independent testing has shown that perfectly sober drivers fail these tests about a third of the time, the intent of them is to establish probable cause for arrest, hence why most DUI attorneys advise to refuse to perform them). I could see where logically, if, say, your ride’s built-in breathlyzer “flunked” you, the car would probably not only not start, but law enforcement would be notified, and with the in-car cameras, a picture taken showing that you were in control of the vehicle, even though it refused to start and went nowhere, providing evidence AGAINST you re: DUI.

      • Douglas,

        I didn’t realize they put that crap in all the way back to 2002. I tried to turn off the button on the center console, but it was inoperable. So driving the thing for three days was a pain. It really lowered my opinion of fords, which I have owned for going on thirty years.

        That road between the Az border for first fifty miles into New Mexico is fubared as well. We just drove that one at Christmas time. Strange how its just going east and not coming back west. If you had to use it often you’d need an alignment two or three times a year. Who knows, maybe uncle just thinks he’s being funny or trying to get everyone to slow down.

        The DUI industry in AZ is big business. Multiple companies involved in making fortunes off inter-loc. I don’t ever drink and drive and even sober its harder to walk a perfectly straight line now that I’m older. I try to keep my exchanges with officer friendly civil. As nicely as possible with a big smile, the appropriate response is am I under arrest, or am I free to go.

        • You do NOT ever have to “walk the line” or perform any “roadside” tests, no matter what the officer threatens. The DUI “test” that the laws of your state say you gave “implied consent” is a direct one of your BAC, given via blood or breath (urine is rarely used anymore due to lack of agreement of metabolization of alcohol). I do know in CA you have a right to have a blood test, and a duplicate draw taken to be held for your attorney to have tested independently. As I said prior, those roadside “screening” tests are subjective and frequently done w/o sincerity, with the goal to establish probable cause to justify the DUI arrest. Of course, they’ll always claim they saw you “weaving” or other signs of impaired driving, or your breath reeked of alcohol, or your eyes were glazed and/or bloodshot. Why give them that phony, contrived “evidence” as well? And if you are arrested and the DUI test comes below the presumptive level of intoxication, you’re not “off the hook” just yet. Some states, like CA (at 0.05) have a presumed “Floor” where, if you’re below it, you’re presumed NOT under the influence of alcohol, but some will attempt to charge you with the lesser “impaired” charge (always a misdemeanor) if any alcohol is detected. And, if you’re a minor or on DUI probation, and ANY alcohol is detected (statutorily, usually the detection limit is 0.02), then, rather than the statutory DUI, they can hang that charge on you. Or, even if you’re “clean”, many jurisdictions will re-arrest you then on a charge of “drugged” driving, even if whatever’s in your blood has no defined levels of impairment of driving. That is why the first thing you say to the officer is a polite “no”, followed by, if he’s going to be a jerk about it, the standard GFYS.

  27. I want a car without any of these “assistance ” features, no touch screen, no push button start, no turbo engine, no cvt transmission, no electronic gadgets that could be manual instead (like a button instead of a pull up handle for a hand brake). Is that too much to ask? Should I just try to keep my current car going forever?

    • Hi LaGordita!

      I’d advise just that – keeping what you have, forever. Or consider buying another (older) car and holding it in reserve. Because it’s only going to get worse with new cars. bThe current ones are almost insufferably preemptive and controlling. Just wait….

      • I have a 2009 Ford Fusion now and its simplicity (compared to newer cars) is beautiful. It may make me sound old, but who cares? It’s better than having a car that tries to do everything for you because you are assumed to be an idiot. I don’t even like to use cruise control because I don’t like things that can allow me to pay any less attention to the road.

        • 2007 6cyl Hyundai Sonata, just the perfect level of tech for me, and I intend to keep it forever, long as the engine holds up. 140,000 miles just now, so might be the one.

          • I’ve got a Hyundai as well, and intend to keep it for the rest of my life. You really can’t go wrong with an old Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, or Honda. There are countless videos on Youtube of people yanking an inline six cylinder engine from older Lexus sedans, or Supra coupes and installing them into whatever they prefer to drive. These engines (2JZ) are basically indestructible. These people take them to drag strips and red line them for years with no problems. They make funny cars look like they’re being driven by your grandmother. There are literally warehouses all over the country full of old used engines for sale. I suspect that market will continue to grow as these assisted driving cars become more unpopular.

      • I have heard a few complaints here in Australia about the new cars being so controlling. But that is why I own 2 21 year old cars now. Low mileage cars for their age and worth keeping because of the ease of driving them and the lower repair costs.

  28. That’s the trouble, Eric. You needed no assistance in taking “driver assistance” tech to its logical conclusion. You/most of us here don’t need, nor do we want this technology, hence the reason it must be forced into the market. It’s what’s best for the herd.

    I’ve noticed–anecdotally–that virtually no one under the age of 40 cares a bit about this. Instead, they giddily talk about it, relishing the idea of “driving” somewhere, without actually driving; not grasping the idea that the goal is to make our cars as miserable as public transportation.

    Yes, tech is so fu**ing cool. I can’t wait until my freedom of travel is restricted by car as much as commercial flying. So cooooool.

    I have bitched my whole life about cops and people controlling, or attempting to control me. Little did I realize that in 2005 that I hadn’t seen anything yet. I still haven’t seen anything yet. So cooooool.

  29. Because EVERYONE has to be EQUAL ; so called EQUITY, all autos will soon be mandated with BLIND drivers assist. I’m being sarcastic saying this, but would not be surprised if some nutjob in Biden Regime mandated it sooner or later!

  30. The only way to make a thing “idiot proof” is to make it useless. If an idiot can operate it, it won’t do much. As in “professional” vs “amateur”. The former being what experts, or at least well accomplished, need to get the job done, and the latter being what one who has no idea what they are doing need to convince them they need a “professional”. Never mind that if you actually need these things you should NOT be operating 3000+ pounds of metal and plastic on a public thoroughfare. Unassisted ability should be the minimum requirement.

  31. “Lane Keep Assist – a system that presumes you’re so addled or incompetent that you cannot on your own keep the car within the boundaries of the yellow painted center line to your left and the white painted line to your right”

    Either that, or it presumes that you’re too distracted from dicking with your sail foam to keep it between the lines…

    • Indeed, it appears that’s what most of this “assist” tech is designed for, so you can stay on your Facebook/Google as much as possible.

  32. I’m not so sure the populous as a whole does not require these assistance technologies. I’ve seen it more and more of late – a phenomenon I’ve termed driving while vaccinated. Just the most mind boggling things on the roadway, which seemed rare in the recent past: People just randomly braking or tapping the brakes every couple hundred yards. Half of the cars seem unable to stay between the lines – crossing the double yellow on every curve in the road, or crossing in and out of the shoulder. Staring into space at stoplights and not moving as the light turns green. Putting a tractor trailer length space between them and the next car when queued up at a red light. Taking what seems like forever to complete a turn. And lots of bent fenders and torn bumpers – they are running into things. People can’t drive or they’ve lost the mental capacity to handle a vehicle. These assistance technologies may be necessary to keep vaccine-addled drivers from killing the rest of us.

    • Bac- it might be a loop. Drivers lose focus due to the assist, then they update the assists for stupid drivers, then they become more stupid, then a software update makes self driving more stupid at a time when they are unable to focus.

      Or just society treating you like infants makes people behave or think like infants

  33. I don’t need the car to tell me there might be ice.

    I don’t need the car to bitch about not putting on a seatbelt while I’m backing out of the driveway.

    I don’t need the car to insist that I pull outside air while driving through smoke or behind cars/trucks belching exhaust.

    • Hi Mike,

      You’ll love this, then: The ’22 Corolla I recently test drove has an illuminated message in the gauge cluster that says “Car not not ready to drive” – followed by a pictograph of a foot touching a brake pedal. Then a key icon.

  34. I’ve always hated automatic doors in places of public accommodation, i.e. stores and such. Back in the ’90s….jeez, am I really that old?….back in the ’90s when these abominations became ubiquitous, I theorized that taking away the need for others to graciously open doors
    for the weak, elderly, or children, or anyone who needed the lift one gets from a courteous gesture, would have the effect of wiping out common courtesy. Just like cell phones have. I remember when anyone who stalled by the side of the road had to do was activate their flashers, pop the hood/trunk, and within minutes some helpful good Samaritan would stop and offer assistance. But now every one just assumes you can call on your sail fawn, so I hardly ever see anyone stop to help anymore.

    Bricks in the wall….one by one, they pile up. Replace helpful people with Machine Assist, and you displace the human impulse to help each other. Isolate, contain, destroy.

    I resist, by looking for people to assist in my everyday life, even if they don’t appear to “need” help. Making life a little easier for others is one of life’s little pleasures; we should have frozen machine technology sometime in the late ’90s. Anything beyond that point is just being lazy.

    Maybe DOT should ditch all the safety gear and attach 3-foot spikes to all steering wheels…that might improve driving safety.

    • ‘I’ve always hated automatic doors in places of public accommodation.’ — Andy L

      You probably wouldn’t much care for Japan, where two-leaf automatic sliding doors are standard in virtually every public accommodation.

      In a densely-packed country, automatic doors eliminate unintentional but awkward standoffs at swinging doors between people unsure whether the entering person should yield to the exiting person, or vice versa.

      Japan has compensated by installing human-like traffic robots at work sites … which Americans typically find creepy.

      https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/i1yCSttZtw4E/v0/1200x-1.jpg

      But I envision an entire United States Clowngress, filled with 535 of these humanoid entities, waving their arms while mindlessly repeating the same drivel: S-A-A-A-A-A-A-F-E-T-Y, comrades!

    • Quite true, and I have often found myself guilty, as I see someone in some degree of distress on the roadside, and assume they have a cell phone to take care of themselves. Pre cell phone, I would never drive by someone in such distress, and after helping them, they would often offer to pay for my trouble. To which I always replied, “you are now obligated to help someone else in similar circumstance”. It is perhaps the greatest sin of all things digital, that the cell phone has separated us from our humanity, converting it to pictures of our cat while on vacation.

      • I so agree. I’m sure many of us have lifetime memories of the unexpected but much appreciated and sometime hilarious encounters with people who offered help on the road, people we may never have had contact with otherwise. People whose good deeds were not forgotten. The strangers who made us smile and reassured us of the innate goodness and connectedness of humanity. And when we were to help others it made us feel so worthwhile.

  35. ‘there is “intelligent” Speed Limit Assist . . . because you’re obviously not intelligent enough to read the sign or decide for yourself what speed to drive’ — eric

    These systems work like ALPRs, ‘reading’ speed limit signs. Which raises the possibility of neo-Luddites posting a fake ‘Speed Limit 10’ facsimile on a downhill blind curve on a snowy day — just to watch each and every ‘assisted’ vehicle slam on its brakes and skid into the ditch.

    Speaking of monkeywrenching the system, someone estimated that if Canadian truckers can keep the international crossings at Windsor and Sarnia blocked for two days, the auto industry on both sides of the border will grind to a halt.

    Shut the sucker down, I say, until the vanquished safety nazis and vaccinazis prostrate themselves at our feet.

    FJB, FJT (Truckin’ Fudeau).

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