Which do you trust more – your satnav or your common sense? Seemingly some people trust their satnavs over everything – like the lorry driver who drove to Gibraltar point in Lincolnshire – 1 600 miles from his intended destination of Gibraltar, Spain. And the 300 000 UK drivers blaming their satnavs for accidents every year suggest that he’s not alone.
A poll of 2 000 drivers revealed that unreliable voice recognition systems, out of date maps and unusual directions lead 6 out of 10 drivers to lose their temper with their satnavs.
But satnavs have their benefits – no more battling with huge paper maps for instance - and with new improvements in voice recognition systems, real time traffic reporting tools and apps to keep your maps up to date they may one day truly earn the trust we put in them.
I’m in the mood for satnav
A professor at Cambridge University is currently developing a series of smart computers that can pick up on what kind of mood you are in and respond accordingly. These emotionally intelligent computers have been earmarked for potential use in satnavs.
By monitoring facial expressions and the differences in tone of voice, they would be able to tell when a driver is angry or upset and turn off the radio/mobile phone or alter the temperature. However, it remains to be seen if this will actually have a soothing effect on motorists or antagonise them even more.
Fast becoming a reality is the driverless car; a car where the satnav is taken to another level and essentially takes control of your car. Internet giants Google have already developed a car that has driven 1 600km (1000miles) without human intervention, including along San Francisco’s Lombard Street, famed for its steep hairpin turns, and through city traffic.
The car maps its surroundings by firing laser pulses and analysing the reflections to find out how far away surrounding objects are and what they’re made of. Along with video cameras and GPS, by taking away human error, it’s hoped self-controlled cars will make accidents a thing of the past. But we’ll still need to pay attention in case the computers crash.
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