The future of cars is always connected. What’s the most important thing to look out for?

As Transport Minister, I’m proud to see a new generation of intelligent, connected and connected-to-the-Car technology being increasingly incorporated in our networks. The goal of connected connected technology, according to Intel, is “nothing less than the transformation of our society from a city designed to last just as the roads will to one designed to last for generations to come.”

“Interactions and features are geared toward the passenger who desires functionality to help maximize time spent on the road and minimise exposure to risk,” which is great, but will this new generation of technology really help drivers actually reduce risk?

Connected Connected Cars are just the latest evolution of the technology we’ve always seen included in the average car, as well as the gadgets we run to the store with, and at home with, every day. I don’t have any trouble keeping track of my car and running to work, but I still don’t drive all day every day and share my commute with my neighbour.

Technology should be convenient and without intrusion. It shouldn’t make life more difficult than it needs to be. In this case, however, I don’t think it will. All-inclusive products are a good thing for a lot of reasons, especially when they significantly improve safety, environmental and public convenience. Even with a zippy electric car, there is no cutting-edge technology that will ensure a driver can commute for hours without being worried about what they’re doing behind the wheel.

Many people try to push the luxury car and keep the comfort level in the seat, but technology inside the car must also be seamless and easy to use. Most of all, it’s important to remember that with the introduction of technology comes the need to respect it and implement its proven design standards. If the user isn’t comfortable and doesn’t understand how the technology is supposed to work, they won’t continue to use it and the progress and enthusiasm of the manufacturer is diminished.

The focus that manufacturers have on the safety of passengers must remain at the forefront of the communications through voice, text and touch. Add in some design elements and it’s more likely to make more sense and be more user-friendly and efficient. That’s not to say that all cars should have a touchscreen, but when compared to the plethora of large and small screens that passenger interactions often involve, it helps to choose one that fits the car’s architecture and in which the driver engages.

It’s also important to focus on user education for a modern technology so that the driver does not neglect their commutes. Learning the technology and how to operate it with sensitivity to their driver will prevent more accidents. Each driver knows that their technology can drive the car safely, but nothing in the world of communication is perfect and interacting with the car could be far more problematic than we think.

As I see it, it’s crucial that the driver be prepared to be judged on how they choose to interact with the car. I’m not saying no technology will be applied to the car for when a driver needs it, but it has to be handled responsibly in a way that creates lasting change and the driving experience.

The increasing demand for autonomous vehicles will no doubt bring new innovations to the driving experience, but through current technology, it’s clear that the most helpful and accessible technology should be the driver first.

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