The worst part about learning to drive — for me at least — was having other people in the car scrutinizing your every move. Now, a new patent from General Motors would get rid of all of that. Meet the instructor-free student car.
Basically, this new system would train and evaluate new drivers, per Motor 1. We tend to look at autonomous cars as a way to totally remove drivers from the equation; instead, it looks like GM is using autonomy as a way to train fledgeling drivers to hit the road.
In this patent, the driver of the autonomous car would be totally in control with the autonomous system serving as a backup. Performance will be analyzed through different sensors, likely to make sure you’re staying within the lines of the road and staying vigilant. Then, the vehicle will be able to provide real-time feedback to the driver about, say, brake inputs, steering wheel inputs, or throttle control. After all that, the driver will receive a score from the car that basically tells them whether or not they’ve failed or passed.
When I was a teen learning to drive, I would have loved this. In driver’s training, I was consistently paired up with some frankly dangerous drivers, and I hated the fact that everyone I drove with could just go back to school and tell everyone if I’d screwed up. My instructor was also a little bit of an ass. It would have been great to just have the car tell me all I needed to know in private.
Of course, vehicles with this high level of technology also raise privacy concerns. Will your car be able to tattle on you if it decides you’re not paying attention to a prescribed level of satisfaction? Will it be guaranteed to understand your movements so that you aren’t punished for, say, not making an obvious enough glance at your rearview mirror? It’s hard to know. Right now, though, this is just a neat idea from GM.