Will autonomous technology change the way in which we road test a car?

Modern cars have lots of (sometimes hidden) technology which aims to make them safer, easier to drive, and in some cases, able to drive themselves. Mostly, drivers can just enjoy the benefits of this technology, but if they’re trying to understand how to evaluate cars, maybe when purchasing a new one, the new capabilities can make tests more difficult to grasp. This piece tries to explain what is behind the tests.

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New aspects of car technology

For a good summary of the history of autonomous cars take a look at https://www.wired.com/brandlab/2016/03/a-brief-history-of-autonomous-vehicle-technology/.

The simplest technology would be improved entertainment and communication systems. Bluetooth connection allows the driver, or passengers, to bring their own favourite music player, and for their phone to interconnect with the car systems. Next up the hierarchy might be navigation systems which use satellite connection to provide accurate route information.

Systems to power assist steering, give more power to braking, and of course, automatic gear changing are well established. Similar, and also long-established, is cruise control, aiding the process of keeping a constant speed. All of these can be demonstrated in a road test. Newer techniques offer autonomous braking to avoid slow speed knocks, automatic parking help, and lane maintenance aid. These may be slightly more difficult for a driver to assess in a test drive. Some of the most advanced cars offer autonomous driving capability, but to what extent these take over completely from the driver, or just provide a safety net in extreme conditions, again is difficult to road test. No country yet permits completely driverless operation.

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Can you test them?

Of course, the most extreme safety protection mechanisms are not easy to test drive. You wouldn’t expect to have proof that the airbags in a car work when you buy it and this applies to leasing as well as purchase. You will want to be fully informed before leasing a car just as much as if you were buying. If you are looking at car leasing in Leicester why not contact a company such asTotalmotion http://leasing.totalmotion.co.uk/.

A matter of trust

Highly publicised events like the recent crash of an autopiloting Tesla make drivers suspicious about trusting technology. Also, sadly, it is not unknown for manufacturers to manipulate testing procedures, as with engine emissions from Volkswagen cars.

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