As most of you who read this magazine might know, I’m a car mechanic and I work for an Opel dealership. I get to see a lot of new technology from the front row, drive a lot of new cars every day, and there’s a decent amount of them I’m only able to afford when they are 5+ years old.
I take an ample amount of courses year round to remain up to date on that previously mentioned technology and see how everything that was stand alone before, gets more and more connected.
You used to have a phone which was so big at one point it couldn’t even fit in your pocket, had a stereo in your car with a cassette deck (hell, if you had a cd player you were quite the exception), you had a separate walkman or discman, and some papers and pen in your pocket to take notes. The key had to be taken out to open the front door, and both of them (front left and front right) could be opened with a key. These days, the technology brings us more connections and convenience (laziness?) than we could have ever imagined.
I walk to the car, and the doors open without even taking out the keys from my pocket. My smartphone connects to the car stereo and starts playing my favorite music as well as setting up the handsfree phone connection. When something important comes to mind, I don’t have to search for paper and a pen to write it down, but I press a button and speak it, while my car “writes it down.”
I only have to press a button to start and stop the engine as well, and the car turns on the lights itself, starts wiping the windows itself, and even turns the engine off and on again when traffic lights take too long. It even records the last traffic signs on the screen – in case I wasn’t paying attention and don’t know the current allowed speed, I only have to take a look at my screen. Hell, even the old fashioned dashboard with analog meters have been swapped for a digital version. Back in the 80s and early 90s, people just couldn’t get used to digital dashboards and it never made it through, but now they’re back and it appears here to stay.
Back to the point of it all. My daily driver has a lot of those options as well, but, when there’s time, I still take out my old, 1989 Mistubishi onto the road. Yes, I have to take the keys out of my pocket to open the doors. Yes, I have to put them in the ignition and turn them to start the car. My smartphone isn’t best friends with the car, so it doesn’t make any connection with the original stereo system.
If I want to make a call, I’ve got to pull off to the side to do it safely. It doesn’t take notes when I talk and I there’s no record button. The wipers don’t do anything unless I tell them to, same goes for starting and stopping the engine. My car can’t even tell if its night or day, so the lights stay off forever unless I turn them on.
I can only imagine what people are going to think of this in about 20 years. There are already people now who do not understand why one would drive in such a car. But me? I love it. My car doesn’t need to think for me, do things I forget, or help me with whatever else is on my mind. It doesn’t need to help me if it thinks I put the gas pedal too far to the ground and reduce the throttle for me.
No, I decide what I do when I want to do it. And, for perspective, that’s a relief.
. . .
What about you? When do you want the convenience of modern technology versus the simplicity of classic motoring?