In-Car Technology: Good or Bad for the Driving Experience?

Automotive Team Blog

Michael Pickering

“Wow, freedom”, and “what a motor” were the thoughts in my head when I first passed my driving test. I won’t say how long ago that was, but I think the car image might give it away!!


As you can see it wasn’t the most desirable motor on the road, but to me it was everything. I could get about to anywhere I wanted and when I wanted. Driving around with no destination in mind I would just drive and drive to see where it took me. Sometimes with friends, and other times just for the sheer fun of driving, finding new places I’d never been before and visiting new places on the way. Driving in those days was a pleasure, nothing would interrupt my flow, just me, the car, the radio and the open road.

My, how things have changed over the years. Cars are now full with technology, blue-tooth connections, park assist, adaptive cruise control, even TV and internet connectivity.

With all this technology at hand has the simple pleasure of driving disappeared?

I now find myself driving to places in cruise control with the car almost driving for me. I’m driving to places and have no idea in which direction I am heading, oblivious to all the places of interest being passed along the way. The introduction of the built-in sat-nav negates the need for those curled up, out of date, AA Road Maps bought from service stations that were flung on the back seat when not needed. I never thought I would ever say this, but in the ‘olden days’, (I’m sounding and looking more like my dad every day!!) if I was going to somewhere I’d never been before, I’d study the paper map for the best route, identifying possible places to stop and visit on my journey.  Are we losing all sense of direction by just following the arrow on the screen to where the car is telling us to go?

And then there is the telephone!! When you do get chance to drive on the open road, with your favourite song blasting through the state of the art Bang & Olufson in-car speakers, your freedom suddenly comes to a juddering halt when the song you love is interrupted by the sound of ring-ring coming through the speakers. Day-dreaming, peace, and freedom are over as you are brought back to the reality of modern life.

I’m not saying I would like to go back to driving my old Toyota Corolla, but has the art of driving and enjoying the pleasures that come with driving been lost through the ever increasing advances with in car technology? Or am I getting more and more like my dad with each new advance and becoming a cynical old fool?!