TRENDING NEWS: Thursday, May 7th 2015
Parental Controls in Our Cars Are Coming
TEENAGERS ARE TERRIBLE drivers. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, so anything that can reduce those crashes is worth exploring. That’s why Chevy has built a special “Teen Driver” nanny mode into the new Malibu.
But perhaps the safest way to keep teen drivers safe is to not let them drive at all. We’re quite a ways off from that (perhaps kids being born today might see fully autonomous cars before their teenage years are out), so the concept of “parental controls” in automobiles is here to stay. Now, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering—a hotbed of autonomous vehicle development—have surveyed 1,000 Americans to see which of those parental controls might be of most interest.
Fully 84 percent of those surveyed liked the idea of setting a speed limit, curfew time, and restrictions on how many passengers can be in the car at once. (Surprisingly, 81 percent of drivers aged 18 to 24 were in favor here.) And 61 percent of all respondents said they would like to limit the geographic areas a car could travel.
Both the restrictions on the speed limit and the limits on the geographic range of the car saw more popularity as the survey population got older. The opposite was true for a question regarding the ability of parents to send messages to drivers through the car: Almost 70 percent of those 18-24 thought that was a good idea, while less than 60 percent of the rest of those surveyed did.
Some of these features (or variants of them) are already in the 2016 Malibu, but as cars get smarter, more and more parental controls will likely become available. It’s also possible that the government might step in and try to regulate these features—either to require or restrict them—for better or worse, as one more step towards a safer and more autonomous future. Though we love some of these parental control ideas, we’d definitely prefer if they were optional.