Conditioned to “Assistance”

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Ever had someone bump your elbow when you’re trying to drink a cup of hot coffee? What is styled Advanced Driver Assistance “technology” works on the same principle.

If you’re trying to drive – changing lanes, say –  and fail to signal before you do, a vehicle equipped with the Advanced Driver Assistance “technology” styled Lane Keep Assist will attempt to prevent you from altering your course by attempting to force-steer you back into your prior course. This peremptory electronic obnoxiousness forces you to exert sufficient contrary force to return to the course you’d intended. It can be unsettling when this happens and even dangerous, if the herky-jerky ends up unsettling the vehicle.

On a narrow road, an over-correction to counter the computer’s unwanted correction might cause an outside wheel to drop off the road and onto the shoulder. In the hands of someone without a lot of hand strength and unready for the sudden input of  “assistance,” the pulling to the left or right could result in counter-pulling right in front of the path of another car.

Or into a tree.

But why not just signal your intended course, say the defenders of all this “assistance”? Doing so will cancel the “assistance,” they argue.

And it will. But it is stupid – mindless – to signal when there is no one around to see it. Do you reflexively do things just because?

Or because there is a reason to do them?

It is an important distinction.

When there are other cars in your orbit, it is reasonable to use your turn signals. You can see them – and want them to see you. Or rather, see your intentions. This involves an exercise of that dread thing, judgment. The thing which follows upon the assimilation of pertinent information, weighed and considered. It is the very last thing desired by those who developed “assistance” technology.

What they desire – what the system we’re saddled under demands – is the negation of judgment. Instead, mindless, passive and reflexive rote performance of the required ritual.

Whether the signaling or the “masking.” And not just that.

Using traffic signals every single time one turns left or right – irrespective of the presence or absence of traffic – is merely one of many examples but a useful one in that it conveys the underlying essence of the demand being made. Here is a rule. It must be obeyed, regardless of circumstances, without thought.

What is the purpose of this if it is not to condition people to the condition of livestock? Cattle are not expected – not permitted – to decide whether it’s a good idea for them to follow the cow ahead of them down the chute. They are expected to follow – and those that hesitate are . . . assisted.

The techniques used to condition us are more subtle. Instead of the prod, we get the light – and the buzzer. The wheel that steers itself in the direction opposite the one we intended. The engine that turns itself off at every red light or whenever the car comes to a stop. Yes, there are (usually) ways to turn it all off. But it is usually the case that all these iterations of “assistance” turn themselves back on after the car is shut down. When you return and start the car back up, these systems often have to be turned off, again.

It wears you out – and eventually, maybe you give in and leave them on.

This takes care of most people. The rest will be taken care of when it is no longer possible to turn it all off. As is already the case with regard to prior forms of “assistance” technology that weren’t called that when they first appeared because when they did – some 30 years ago – most people were not yet so browbeaten and cuck’d by their government-corporate overlords as to put up with so cloying and offensive a term.

Cripples require “assistance.”

So they called them by more straightforward names, such as anti-lock brakes and traction/stability control. At first, these were optional and only a few cars offered them. Time passed and every car came standard with them. And – at some point – the off switch was no longer included. They are on all the time, whether you want to be “assisted” or not.

So it will be with what is now openly styles “assistance” technology, inflicted on a populace so degraded it no longer takes offense at being told, right to their faces, that they are in need of “assistance.”

Soon enough, inevitably enough, they will be “assisted” out of the driver’s seat altogether. Perhaps they will be allowed to sit there – as a passenger – gawping with vapid enthusiasm at the Holo-ride displays meant to keep their minds off the condition they’ve been reduced to by all of this “assistance.”

Running off the road – and into a tree – will then be a kind of mercy killing.

. . .

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  1. Analog Super 7 used to hunt down out of control, rogue, AI computerized, self driving cars.

    In the distant future people no longer drive cars themselves, instead relying on AI (artificial intelligence) computers to drive their cars for them.

    But when these AI systems start losing control and running wild somebody has to stop them. éX-Drivers are the people who are able to operate the older mechanical non-AI dependent cars who chase down the AI cars and stop them.

    A good amount of future and near future technology is featured throughout the series, including automated highway systems and A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) technology. Automated highway systems have been proposed as a solution to the traffic congestion problems.

    In the series, anybody, regardless of age, can be an éX-Driver as long as they possess the required skills. For example, one of the main characters is only 13 years old and drives. The premise of the show is that there are éX-Drivers all over the world but the focus is on the team operating in Japan.

    Cars used by éX-Drivers are marked with an éX-D decal. Typically an éX-Driver car would be an older mechanical type car and almost always would be rear-wheel drive with the exception of an AWD (4WD) Subaru Impreza WRC since éX-Drivers usually employ techniques such as drifting when bringing down runaway cars, which is much more difficult with front wheel drive (FWD) cars and in an all wheel drive (AWD) car.

    Meanwhile in Japan, animes about sport cars are common, but one is hugely different because driving an Europa Special and a Superlight R500
    eX-driver is a manga, an anime (from 2000) and also one movie.
    it is about a distant future where the cars with AI make crazy stuff, then a group of saviors drive NON-AI cars to save the world
    on the 3 characters, 2 drive an Europa Special and Super 7, the other one a stratos HF
    there is also crazy merchandising
    just found an episode in english, where the Europa driver teaches how to drift with her car 😀

    on the actual situation where more and more sport cars are dependent of AI, i thought it was interesting to share this
    when we know that japanese are really well influenced by manga, i am happy to see how they promote the LIR

  2. No need for a 3000 to 4000 lb car this one is only 970 lb. and gets 58.3 mpg.

    A great reason to own: The ultimate anti nanny state car, no driver assists, air bags, ABS, stability control, etc., only has a computer to run the fuel injection. (the Prisoner drove one.)

    Forget about EV’s, build your own, save money

    Caterham 170R
    85 hp, (other models available up to the 620R with 311 hp.)
    0 to 100 (62 mph) 6.9 seconds,
    970 lb,
    58.3 mpg
    It is green: It’s compliant with both Euro 6 and London ULEZ rules, with a CO2 figure of just 109g/km, that is cleaner than a Toyota hybrid.
    970 lb = uses only 20% of the earth’s resources to build compared to a tesla.

    The biggest cost in a car is depreciation (should be the main reason to not buy an EV), Caterham super 7’s hold their value far better then almost any other car (electric cars have horrible steep depreciation).
    Very little depreciation and 58.3 mpg = one of the lowest cost cars to drive.

    The most simple car, wrench on it yourself.

    The best feature: more fun to drive then any other car, at any price.
    A super 7 (a 1957 design by Lotus), is the ultimate driving experience, buy or test drive one, it is a completely different experience.

    The most direct, analog, raw, visceral, unfiltered driving experience, perfect for the hard core driver enthusiasts, they say you don’t drive it you feel it, this is how a car should be, small, light, agile, fast, no frills, mechanical art made to go fast only, no luxury, no doors or roof, some have no windshield, nothing extra, with a 4 cylinder engine about 1200 lb. the closest thing to an old F2 car for the street, very fast,

    You get two cars in one, use it to commute to work, drive it on the track on the weekend.

  3. You basically have to ask the car for permission to steer the vehicle, but you can’t drive it. You become the bozo in what was the driver’s seat, you turn into a clown.

    A good used 4-wheel drive vehicle free of all digital diktats is what you are going to want and need.

    If you see Cosmic Crisp apples at the grocery store, they’re a super apple, buy some.

  4. “On istinea narrow road, an over-correction to counter the computer’s unwanted correction might cause an outside wheel to drop off the road and onto the shoulder.”

    Perhaps this is INTENTIONAL! Why? Because, once these “driver assistance aids” can no longer be turned off; if they’re still dangerous like this; then what an EXCELLENT pretense for limiting where you can go! Why, it’s too dangerous for your car to go there, so it’ll be blocked from going there. It’s all about safety, you know.

    Actually, this will be another brick in the wall of UN Agenda 2030, where the rural areas will be allowed to return to their pristine, natural state. Between restrictive land use policies, high taxes, and lack of utilities (because they’re not allowed), people will be “nudged” to move to the cities. Because these rural locations are too “dangerous” for modern, assisted cars, they’ll be programmed to avoid these places. This is yet another “nudge” to get people in to the cities and in to the digital panopticon that our overlords have planned for us. That’s what these “driver aids” are REALLY all about!

    • If you survive the cull you will forced into living in a tiny soviet style 250 sq, ft. slum apartment in a s..hi…th….ole leftist city, you will walk everywhere, own nothing and be unhappy, you would be better off dead…….gates will still drive his 959 Porsche….satanic globalist schwab will be the new god of the planet….

  5. I have not experienced lane assist. Maybe in a rental some day. I have experienced sudden need to change lanes for a variety of different reasons. Situations where you see something happening sudden stop ahead you are going to hit someone so you check quickly to see where go to and do it. No time to hit the turn indicator. If that lane assist kicks in you may then be toast.

  6. I’ve got to say ABS is a good thing.

    Several years ago I was driving on I-40 Eastbound after a time trial event. Pulling my open trailer with car loaded I came upon a sudden hail storm after exiting a bridge. There were cars stopped on the road with the cop, lights ablaze, beyond an incident. The cars in front of me stood on their brakes, as did I. I knew I couldn’t stop in time and went left into the median. Wet, long grass was my surface. I kept on the ABS and it cycled like a vibrator, perhaps 20 plus modulations per second. I stopped about 20 feet short of a group of three men standing, like deer in the headlights, in the median. I then proceeded on my way, no one scathed.

    However, just because one technology is good doesn’t mean they all are.

    • Hi Mark,

      On ABS: I’d be ok with it if it were optional. This is my general beef with all of this stuff. It is foisted onus because some of us want it (like Face Diapers) or because the government “mandates” it. This one-size-fits-all thing that increasingly defines the Consolidated Homogenized State of America.

    • We all have ABS built in. It’s called learning to drive. I still believe that locking up your tires on dry pavement, ripping rubber off in the process, will stop you quicker than ABS will. The one time I find it extremely useful is on roads slick enough that I might otherwise not drive at all. And likely shouldn’t. In order to use them properly, one must forget how to drive and just stand on the brakes. Not to mention that they do fail, and are far from cheap to fix. There are pros, and as always, abundant cons as well.

      • John,

        No. It won’t. You get FAR more friction between the tires and the road, and a much shorter stopping distance. if you don’t skid (a likely exception is a gravel road because you tend to “plow” up gravel in front of the tires and dig into the road when you skid a little).

        Threshold braking is when you hold the brakes juuuuust shy of the point where the wheels lock up. It actually gives you a shorter stopping distance than ABS does (although only marginally) because the brakes are applied continuously, rather than pulsed.

        If you don’t ever learn threshold braking, you are better off with ABS (just jam the pedal to the floor and hope). If you do, or if you drive on gravel a lot, ABS is just annoying.

        What ABS does, is it “pumps” the brakes for you, but it does that way faster than humanly possible.

  7. I think ABS is one of the greatest automotive inventions. If I end up finally getting my hot-rod VW Golf, this will be one of the first things I will reto fit. There will be no problems with brake lock-up or bias no matter what I install.

    • Hi Doug,

      I won’t dispute that ABS has improved controllability for the average driver – because it has. But by dint of doing just that it has arguably lowered the competence of the average driver. There is no longer the same penalty applied for tail-gating and not paying attention. And so we get more and worse. Also, one of the former arts of driving – threshold braking – is now largely a lost one.

      On a motorcycle (one without linked brakes) one has much more rider control over braking force; the rider can use subtle inputs to front or rear to alter weight balance and so on in a way that cannot be done with linked brakes.

      All of this stuff just trends toward the automated experience – with little for the driver/rider to do but push a button and let the car (or bike) do most of the rest.

    • ABS is clever. But it is also completely unnecessary for skilled drivers, and in my experience it kicks in too soon. And, because I am forced to purchase it, my threshold braking skills are not what they used to be. Which could prove to be rather dangerous, if the ABS system were to go out.

      Same reason driverless technology is so dangerous. If you don’t practice in good conditions, your skills deteriorate. If your skills deteriorate, they cannot be used in bad conditions—which is exactly what the automatic “features” are least able to help out with.

      I want a car that I can control, not one that controls me. Since I’m liable anyway, I’d be crazy to settle for less.

  8. Tired of all the over weight, all look the same vehicles, full of driver assists, with a totally isolated, disconnected, lifeless, driver’s experience?

    There is an alternative, a Donkervoort. A modern Super 7 clone.
    Donkervoort vehicles incorporate a unique approach and design – cars from this brand offer a more natural take on driving, by removing standard or conventional tech enhancements found in other cars, such as power steering, anti-lock braking systems, and electronic stability programs.

    The Donkervoort is light weight, their main goal, weighing around 1600 lb.
    These cars aren’t mass produced, all look the same, bland junk sold today. These cars are all hand made with the best technology, a steel tube frame with carbon fiber, for maximum strength.

    You can also have your car custom made down to the finest detail.
    The Donkervoort which is a Super 7 clone/evolution, is one of the most exciting cars you can drive, the ultimate driving experience, for people that love driving cars, a car built built only for fun.

  9. I think this is a function of the rapidly aging population of people who can actually afford to buy new cars.

    If Gramps can’t drive it’s time to hang up the keys already. Sorry but we’re all heading that way sooner or later.

    This is exactly like the massive overreaction to the ‘Rona.

    American society would rather waste a ton of money on security blankets and BS, instead of confronting hard truths square on.

  10. ‘What they desire is the negation of judgment. Instead, mindless, passive and reflexive rote performance of the required ritual.’ — eric

    Eric is writing about vehicle regulators. But the statement applies equally to our ideological minders, the Mainstream Media. Consider a headline today at news aggregator Drudge Report:

    Sour and angry America poised to punish Dems this fall

    The MSM, whose personnel are about 90 percent liberal Dems, uses two memes to describe a rebellious populace who refuse to support their preferred party:

    1. ‘Sour and angry’ [see above]
    2. ‘An infantile tantrum’

    NEVER is a Democratic rout described as a ‘calm, sober judgment’ by the electorate. After all, the media regards this as an irrational outcome, which can only be motivated by angry or infantile Wrongthink.

    Like the prods of lights and buzzers in vehicles designed by ‘them,’ the MSM smugly hectors us to vote left-socialist, then denounces us for failing to follow their instructions.

    The MSM is the Enemy. Undermine them; delegitimize them; confront, mock and denounce these alien pests.

  11. I turned off the Lane Departure Assist “feature” on my 2018 Camry after the system nearly killed me on the first drive home from the dealerhip. However, during the ToyotaCare complementary service period, anytime I took the vehicle in to the dealer for the oil change, the techs would always turn the system back on as well as bump up the sensitivity of the Collision Avoidance radar.

    Now that I am paying for service, the techs leave the settings alone.

    I’m not convinced that the computer vision processing behind the systems is adequate. I’ve worked with similar technology in a fixed environment, and to get an error rate of .1% required fast server CPUs with lots of memory.

    • Hi Roscoe,

      I am surprised that no one has sued over this “assistance” stuff, which I am certain has caused accidents via over-correction or by startling a driver, especially older ones. More generally, I find this stuff very fatiguing; having to constantly fight the car, which is fighting you.

      • It may be the case that a high profile ambulance chaser like Benny Crump has been tempted by a lawsuit against Toyota or one of the other *truly* valuable remaining car companies but been told to lay off until such time that another example needs to be made similar to Volkswagen.

      • no doubt there have been lawsuits but the media is not going to cover them until it suits them to. Since the goal of the media’s owners are these ‘self driving’ cars they won’t cover it. The media keeps taking the times these features do hurt people as ‘break some eggs to make an omelet’ rather than blasting them as unsafe as their tradition even if they have to blow something out of proportion or manufacture it.

        • I think so, too, Brent –

          I think so because I am in a fairly unique position, being a guy who test-drives new cars each week – and I can personally attest that these systems can result in erratic/unpredictable movement of the vehicle. I often marvel at the danger, especially as regards already distracted drivers, or drivers with a loose grip on the wheel. All it takes is a moment for the vehicle to move suddenly in a way not anticipated, with the driver over-correcting for it . . . and there you go. A wreck in the name of saaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

  12. I rented a big VW SUV in Germany when visiting the kids, I’d never driven anything with “lane assist”, what a joke. On the way to their house outside of town the wheel kept trying to bump the opposite direction when cornering the somewhat narrow road.

    I almost took it back but finally figured out how to turn it off via a 4 or 5 step selection process on the tiny screen in the instrument pod. Of course it reset every time, along with auto stop start. If I forgot to turn it off the lane assist would bump the steering when going past large trucks on the Autobahn, damn annoying and frankly dangerous.

    I now realize how lucky I was getting my 2003 Escape, V6 2WD NO antilock brakes, not even the rear! It was an option on the trim level, wow did I luck out! No trip to the dealer to get the ABS activated while flushing the brake fluid. This and the 91 Silverado are the forever vehicles.

  13. I for one am sick of the digital nannies. Can’t back the wife’s car without the stupid seatbelt alarm going off. Worse yet, while in cruise control the digital nanny panics when there’s a car/truck/semi 300 yards in front of you. It slams on the brakes & the quick deceleration causes angst for the people behind us. Needless to say we no longer use cruise control.

    • Damn that’s just nasty, I’m a fan of cruise control but they can keep that “adaptive cruise” nonsense. My 2018 Grand Cherokee doesn’t have that adaptive system and no lane assist, whew.

      I did search and found the process to silence the seat belt alarm in the Jeep, see if a website or blog for your car can help. The Jeep process is permanent unless you want to reverse it later, as is my 03 Escape.

      • Eric, and this web site in particular, was the information I used to jump on my 2018 4Runner coming off lease. I knew I wanted none of the nanny things and this was the last chance as Eric described what was coming. Also sees what’s coming with using gas prices and food supply as weapons to usher in the Great Green Utopia.

  14. Manufacturers are soooooo eager to roll out new stuff because it gives the sales guys something to talk about on the test drive. And like everything else, if one does it, they all have to do it. Because you can’t have a customer ask about a feature some other vehicle has that your’s doesn’t.

    The tech guys have been talking up atonomous vehicles for years now. The tech pretty much works, but the legalities haven’t been worked out yet. I’m certain the DOT has regular meetings with lobbyists talking out the details of legislation that lets everyone off the hook, but then why bother? As long as there’s some mechanism for controlling the vehicle there’s going to be a “driver,” even if all they do is push the deadman button when the “push now” light comes on. If the “driver” sees something ahead do you let them take manual control or just have a big red STOP button? If the vehicle runs over little Suzy riding her tricycle on the street and the “driver” doesn’t push the big button, who’s at fault? So instead we get this half-baked solution that doesn’t actually do anything.

  15. Let’s say something darts into the road: animal, person, car backing out of a driveway.

    If the assistance keeps you from avoiding the object, who’s at fault?

    And what if it’s a kid that your car fights you to avoid?

    • My thoughts exactly Dan, who ever used a turn signal before suddenly swerving to avoid hitting a dog or person that ran out in front of their car.

  16. Reminds me of a time some 50 years ago, when my girl friend (who did not have a drivers license) panicked because I was slip sliding a bit on a snowy road, and grabbed the steering wheel. Promptly causing me to run over a stop sign and leave the road.
    Facing an emergency situation, such as an obstacle in the road, or another vehicle being somewhere its not supposed to be, or a kid running out into traffic, the very last thing you need or want is some THING grabbing your steering wheel, or applying your brakes.

  17. I was driving a relatives car in another state when a car in front of me turned right, I did not feel the need to slow the inertia of the car which I would have had to get back up to speed with an additional push of the accelarator, but the car thought I was getting too close and hit the brakes for me. It startled me. Only for a couple seconds until I figured out what happened. When I got to where I was going I sat there until I could figure out how to turn it off. While some people may feel the need for assistance in driving, I do not, I am confident in my driving skills and need no assistance from an algorithm.

  18. Yay! *happy clover dance*
    New cars will assist us into tire swallowing potholes!
    Right into the deer darting out of the sticks!
    And right over that chunk of metal shrapnel!

    Off with their heads I say!

    None of this new junk is worth buying.

  19. Hi Eric, your comments about “assistance” re the driving experience are on the mark. So much of this junk has been inflicted on us that now what used to be a somewhat carefree activity is now a permanent back-seat driver type nightmare. Just imagine your mouthy mother in law permanently ensconced behind your head every trip. But some things have improved thru the history of automobile evolution. For example, tires are light years ahead of what they were a few decades ago. Also, anti-lock brakes work great in helping maintain directional control when panic braking. But this is true only if you have trained yourself to PROPERLY use your brakes…I.e., jam them hard and keep steering. A good illustration of lack of training/awareness is one time my wife was surprised by some idiot in front of her abruptly slowing, she mashed the brake pedal and the resulting rapid pulsating feedback from the pedal frightened her so much she instantly removed her foot from it and narrowly avoided a crash. She practiced a little after that. Keep up the good work Eric, exposing this nanny state, soul crushing bovine digestive residue.

  20. Lol – lane change assist for a Bronco – isn’t the point of the bronco to go places where there are no lanes!!

    honestly dont get how this will work on a car like the bronco – I drive a fair amount of country roads where I live – these dont have many markings (or very poor markings), and the edges just kind break away into a raised bank or something like that. You can imagine how much fun you will have with lane change assist on that (thankfully the one on my car goes off and stays off!)

  21. How many of us have driven cars that are total pieces of sh*t which were falling apart as we drove them safely because we could compensate for the defects? I know I have, but can a computer do the same or will it shut down when braking or tire traction or sensor coverage degrades below a certain point? My newest car only has 2 wheel ABS and I’ve never had a problem. Having watched videos where a vehicle is hacked and the hacker takes control of it makes we wonder what will happen when all vehicles are autonomous and some group sends the signal to accelerate to 90 and then make a hard left turn? Too scary to contemplate so lets keep existing safe human control and ditch all that distracting technology.

  22. Yeah, new cars are insufferable as far as I’m concerned. Kinda sad, I used to look forward to getting a brand new car every 3 or 4 years, but I don’t see myself ever getting another one. My current is a 5 year old Frontier, pretty simple and straightforward truck. I plan to keep it for as long as it still runs, and hopefully that’ll be another 15 or 20 years

    • Amen, Floriduh!

      I have a Frontier, too – as you know – and love it dearly. I am gathering up the parts to replace the entire exhaust system with new, sans the catalytic converter. Using a technique to fool the OBD into thinking it’s still there!

      • Spark plug anti-fouler adapters have the same thread size as O2 sensors and can space the O2 sensor away from the exhaust stream.

          • Eric,
            That might not work. Those adapters are for cars that have an intact, but weak cat, a cat that will give you an intermittent or continuous check engine light. I can’t say for sure on your Nissan, I only have VW/Audi experience. You may have to do a cat delete software upgrade.

            If I was going to do a cat delete I would try this first. I have done it and it does work on VW’s and Audi’s with weak cats.


            I’m pretty sure I tried it on a car with an empty cat, I just don’t remember if it worked or not.
            The guy in the above link used to sell his clever device, but I’m sure Uncle had a discussion with him. He has also deleted some of the details about it, and that detail is the .030″ hole in the end of the “thimble”. They’re not too hard to make, I can email you some pics and details if you like.

      • I have the unicorn crew cab with 6 1/2 foot bed, so it’s really more useful than a lot of the full size trucks nowadays that only have a 5 ft bed. Can’t think of any new truck I’d rather have, no matter the price. I just turned 72, so I think it’s a good bet that the Frontier will last longer than I do!

  23. Actually, I do use a turn signal every time, no matter where I am or whether someone is around or not. I don’t think it’s because I’m conditioned to do what I’m told and follow the law. It’s more of a habit or muscle memory. I don’t really even think about whether there is someone else around. Now, when I come to a red light at 5 am or at any other time/location where no one else is around? I‘ll stop and look, but I’m going through it.

    • Morning, Floriduh!

      The thing that chafes for me is the nudge to signal – or do various other things that may not be called for, such as brake when it is not necessary to brake. The new model vehicles – which as you know I test drive each week – are becoming insufferable in this regard. The serial “correction” makes me want to put my fist through the touchscreen!

      • I had forgotten to turn off lane keep assist one day and had to swerve to avoid a cardboard box in the road. Things like this are why in my opinion lane keep assist should be illegal. It is unsafe. What if that had been an errant cyclist.


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