September 2014

September 2014 IssueSeptember 2014 Issue

Driving a car used to be really easy. You got in, put the key in the ignition, turned it and off you went. Not any more.

These days, when you get into a new and unfamiliar car, not only must you figure out whether to push a button, insert a key or fob (and maybe then push it) and possibly be required to depress the clutch before the engine will start, but it takes at least five to 10 minutes to figure out how to use the car’s various electronic gizmos. Be brave enough to delve into the display menu’s myriad layers and you should probably set aside a morning.

Now, add this to the different operating systems of your laptop, tablet and smartphone, and suddenly you have a whole bunch of quirky navigation menus to figure out. And, when you finally get to grips with it all, at least one of the devices either needs an upgrade, replacing or – if you’re living in SA – gets stolen. So, annoyingly, you start again.

Unfortunately, as this age of The Connected Car dawns, it’s all about the “get worse”. At least that’s what Sentimental Steve thinks – the part that has a deep appreciation for the way things used to be made. The me who loves the way classic cars operate, look and even smell.
The other part of me, Connected Steve, is delighted. I’d be lost without the various LCD screens that both feed me with information and allow me to communicate with my fellow humans in ways I could not have imagined a decade ago. To that part of my brain it makes total sense that all my essential apps will very soon be uploaded into the cars I drive, and that these cars will talk to other cars, and integrate with other systems that will warn of traffic snarl-ups and dangers; I may even let the car drive itself should I choose that option.

With an ever-increasing amount of vehicles on our roads, The Connected Car is the inescapable and necessary future of motoring. Short of the unthinkable – the prohibition of the personal motor vehicle – this is the only way cars will be able to operate safely, efficiently and effectively as our population continues its exponential growth. As I write this, later today CAR magazine is about to get its first-ever electric car as a long-term test vehicle. The times they certainly are a-changin’.

Connected But A Little Conflicted,
Steve Smith

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CAR magazine