The Brain Behind The Brawn
So we’ve been living with a diverse garage for about five months now and I think I’ve had enough time to make a review on one specific car, the cause behind the diversity. The 2016 Ford Ranger Wildtrak High Rider is a mouthful to say and surprisingly less than a handful to drive.
Those of you who have followed my previous blog posts would know that I am not the biggest fan of the introduction of technological interference in the automotive industry. This though – being one of the few times I’ll accept change – showed me a new light to electronic aids.
For those who don’t know what electronic aids are, they are a combination of algorithms and sensors incorporated into the manufacturing of the car to convenience the driver. I hadn’t been a great fan of the idea because I believed it numbed driving down. I focused on the bad side of it, from the perspective of a petrolhead it was bad, but from the perspective of a driver headed home after a heavy Christmas dinner, this had happened to be the greatest leap forward in the automotive industry.
It was a rainy Christmas evening and I was driving home with the family, as inconsiderate as they were, they fell asleep which gave me the opportunity to explore the bells and whistles the car had. Cruise control isn’t much of a magic trick but it was useful on my hour-and-a-half long drive home. The pitter patter of the nighttime droplets were almost hypnotic, calming and relaxing. This was bad for me because I could not afford to fall asleep.
The first thing that wooed me was the lane assist technology, it’s pretty self explanatory. You turn it on on and the car recognizes the boundary lanes on either side of the car and electronically interferes with the steering wheel, making it slightly stiffer to reduce the possibility of swerving. I found this beautiful in all honesty simply because of how useful it actually is. I decided to push the limits and see how far I could take it by minimising my steering input along a gentle curve on the highway and believe it or not, she leaned in and kept her lanes. I was impressed to say the least. The instrument cluster included a visual representation of the lane assist tech which also included boundary lines that were turned green when the car was kept between the lines and yellow when the car wasn’t, simple and useful.
Now here’s something that I personally found astonishing. It’s called the pre collision assist and its brilliant. Using sensors situated in front of the car, it monitors the vehicle in front of you and what it does is that if the car in front suddenly brakes, it gives a red warning light on the heads up display and beeps as well as breaking for you until you realize what’s happened and you break even harder. The system was a bit faulty at times warning me about situations that presented no imminent danger.
Now the epiphany I had was this, cars will always be cars, no matter the form they come in. Each car has its own qualities, sort of like a human does, and these qualities are made stronger and more noticeable in a car’s flaws. Now what technology has done is that it has eliminated those flaws and has replaced them with life saving algorithms. Sure this is good cause it prevents death and stuff, but like it’s a step closer to autonomy. I like the idea of less deaths, just not the idea of no cars driven by man at all.