Tuesday 21 May 2019

Why we badly need 'next-gen' training for 'next-gen' cars; Volvo/Google; Scout price

Skoda Scout
Skoda Scout

Lots and lots of news this week about next-generation infotainment (see Volvo below for example) and self-driving cars.

It seems to me we are getting to the stage where we need next-generation drivers.

I mean how many of us can resist the temptation, even hands-free, to ignore a phone call when driving?

You are not breaking the law, as such, but you are, whether you like it or not, distracted.

How can you fully concentrate on what you are doing at the wheel, on the road, if someone on the hands-free is reporting every scandalous detail of the latest office affair?

How many times have you covered 30km 'on the phone' and not remember a whit of the journey?

The same goes for autonomous driving. Germany has just cleared the way for such cars to be tested on its roads (see right). But even in semi-autonomous cars - and I've 'driven' a few - there is the increased likelihood of a major drop in concentration.

I know technology reacts to danger more quickly than we do and alerts us. But how quickly do we react to the alert if our minds are thousands of miles away? A second or two can make all the difference.

I just think that parallel with the exciting developments of next-gen infotainment/connectivity systems and self-driving cars, we need a major drive to bring us up to speed on what it means to be in so-called 'control' of a car.

* As alluded to . . . Volvo is teaming up with Google to develop the next generation of in-car infotainment and connectivity and the fruits of their endeavours will be in cars within the next two years.

It will remain compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones.

They say the partnership will 'revolutionise' how drivers and passengers interact with their cars.

Meanwhile the company has hinted that a small crossover, called the XC20, is in the pipeline.

* And Germany has cleared the way for testing self-driving cars but only on condition the driver is behind the wheel at all times and in a position to take back control if prompted to do so by the vehicle.

* BMW is to roll out an 8-series next year. That will revive the large coupe profile and show a renewed emphasis on large sports cars.

* Skoda here have revealed prices and specs for their update Octavia Scout (pictured above). Prices start from €35,495.

And their new Karoq compact crossover, which replaces the Yeti will be unveiled tomorrow.

It is built on the Volkswagen group MQB platform and have four new turbo engines.

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