Imagine if you could get into your car, knowing that the law couldn’t touch you. It’d feel like you’d fallen asleep and gone to live in some sort of utopia.
However, the concept might not be as far-fetched as you think. Automakers and their partners are coming up with a raft of innovations that could make tickets and being pulled over a thing of the past.
If you ever got a DUI, you’ll know how stressful it can be. The police pick you up and then cart you away to some awful cell for a bunch of tests, all while leaving your vehicle stranded by the side of the road.
Now, though, carmakers are building technologies into vehicles that won’t allow you to start them if you are over the legal limit.
This technology is great news because it means that you can plan ahead. If you know that you’re the sort of person who doesn’t make the best decisions after a night out, your vehicle can make them for you.
Driving while sleepy is an offense in many places. You need to be alert at all times to keep yourself, passengers and other road users safe while you travel.
For this reason, cars are now implementing sleep monitors. These use special technology that can tell the moment your attention drifts. First they issue an audible warning and then, if you don’t respond, start beeping. Some cars may even deactivate completely when you come to a standstill or tell you to take some coffee to perk you up.
Most cars have some sort of speed limiter (mostly a feature designed to protect the engine from damage). However, there is now a new raft of vehicles that will not allow you to exceed the speed limit in the zone that you’re in.
If you’re like most drivers, you’ll know just how easy it is to accidentally dip over the limit. You think you’re doing 30 mph when, in fact, you’re doing closer to 35. This technology could make it easy to avoid falling foul of speed traps.
Of course, the ultimate progression of car technology is to develop software systems that can replace drivers entirely. In this case, drivers could wipe out 90 percent of the legal risk of taking a car on the road. Even if they got into an accident, the liable party would almost certainly be the manufacturer and software developer, not the person riding in the vehicle. In fact, you might be able to sue them on liability grounds.
Autonomous cars wouldn’t need a steering wheel, gear lever, or any other mechanical controls. Instead, the vehicle itself would use cameras and sensors to navigate through city streets. The driver would essentially be consuming a service by riding in the vehicle and would be no more culpable than a passenger on a train for any damage or loss of life.
Whether legal structures would reflect this remains to be seen, but it is an intriguing possibility that tickets could become a thing of the past.