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Jacob Kayser

Ed Burg

CIS101 61221

11 August 2017

Cars and Computers

Todays world is rapidly advancing in every facet of living such as comfort, safety and

convenience. Automobiles are not excluded from this evolvement, in fact they are one of the

fields leading the way in technological advancement. Today, some motor vehicles contain

upward of 100 electronic control units with microprocessors that manage everything from

steering and braking to navigation, climate control, and entertainment. Computer technology is

progressing to address modern day desires of safety and luxury, providing drivers with advance

ways of transportation.

Starting around the 1880s the race for the invention and improvement of car safety and

comfort began. The first cars were built mostly for racing and power and little to no emphasis in

comfort and safety (Jeanes, 1). This caused the early years of driving to have a high-risk factor.

However, since that era, safety features have been installed and enforced. From 1994 to 2015 the

percent of fatal crashes has dropped by 11% (NHTSA). The difficulty of parallel parking, night

driving, and hazardous driving conditions are an issue that also makes driving unpleasant. Other

aspects would include driving in traffic and hazardous weather conditions. All of which call for

the need of better comfortability.

Self-driving software has taken off among top automotive manufactures. Google

launched a program for a self-driving car which modifies already existing cars such as the Toyota

Prius, Audi and Lexus models. This program takes volunteers for a ride in a vehicle without
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brakes, pedals or a steering wheel (Liljas, 1). This series of autonomous driving takes the driver

almost completely out of the picture. This leaves no room whatsoever for human error, but it also

lacks allowance for humans to intervene to prevent any computer malfunctions that may occur.

Some users are not comfortable with this style, but they have a different option.

Tesla is one of the leading competitors for technological advancements in automotives.

The Tesla autonomous driving allows its drivers to choose from automated driving or opting out

and driving the car themselves. The driver can still get help from the car with park assist with the

Tesla finding a parking space for the car and parking on its own. Self parking is extremely

helpful in urban settings with minimal parking and where parallel parking may be required. That

stress is now eliminated with this technological advancement.

Tesla also has competitors that are more commonly known such as Lexus. Some Lexus

models now have a system that will help you through stop and go traffic that frustrates most

commuters. This is done with the High and All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

DRCC uses radar technology to sense the speed of any vehicles in front of you. If you get too

close to the vehicle ahead, it can automatically reduce the speed of your Lexus. And, as soon as

the road ahead clears, the vehicle returns to its preset speed (LexusDominion). These

advancements make driving more luxurious as well as increasing safety.

Technological advances in cars go a long way in helping to reduce human error. For most

drivers, it is difficult to see the vehicles blind spots, maneuver in inclement weather conditions

and react quickly to avoid unpredicted accidents. To help with these human errors, cars can now

be equipped with new safety technology. One of these new features are back up cameras

enabling the driver to see behind the car while reversing. There are also cameras located on the

sides of cars that allow visibility of blind spots making it easier for changing lanes and parking.
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Some cars are even equipped with radar and anti-collision features to avoid accidents. Such as

the Lexus and Toyota with their Pre-Collision System. These systems use radar sensors to detect

other vehicles around and their speed to avoid collisions that could happen with average human

reflexes. This takes the blind out of bind spots, making driving safer.

Night driving is also a hazard that has become easier with computer technology. Thermal

and night vision have been integrated with vehicles. At 60 miles per hour, normal headlights

provide only 3.5 seconds to react (Bradley, 2). Thermal imaging can offer up to 15 seconds to

react to potential dangers by providing drivers with enhanced visibility. These thermal readings

are displayed on the cars entertainment console and can detect other vehicles on the road as well

as pedestrians and animals who may be in the roadways. Having this computer system in

vehicles helps improve safety.

Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) technology is another advancement that improves driver safety.

The V2V system allows vehicles to communicate to each other to share location and traffic

conditions through a network. Using 2004-2008 crash data, the approximate average number of

fatalities, injuries, and property damage per year caused by light-vehicle scenarios are 27,000;

1,800,000; and 7,300,000, respectively (Harding, 17). As more vehicles become equipped with

V2V technology, the system becomes more complete and will lower the numbers previously

mentioned. Vehicle to Vehicle computer technology has an enormous potential of protecting


Driving can be very dangerous and computer technology is helping to lower the danger.

However, computer technology in the vehicle isnt only for safety, but also for enjoyment.

Interior interfaces such as Android auto and Apple's carplay drive provides luxury and modern-

day gadgets to the car. These interfaces turn the cars dash and media center into something
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similar to a smart phone. Android Auto and Apples carplay has apps and smart technology that

allow drivers to stay connected even while driving. The interface is simple to use since it is based

off the common smart phone operating system. Android it has a new dashboard system that lets a

smartphone power a cars center screen making the vehicle and phone compatible (Blau 1).

Apple also has its own dashboard system. Both operating systems use interfaces that are

common, making the cars console easier to use and the driving experience more enjoyable.

Adding ease of driving to vehicles with the basic amenities have also advance due to

computers. Cars can be equipped with heated seats with ergonomic design which makes the

driving experience much more luxurious. The seats and other climax control options are

diversely customizable through electronic dashboards. In addition, there are In-dash displays that

allow navigation on the road with turn by turn navigation. This is done through application

software and GPS technology. These in dash display also are able to show movies, manage

playlists and even the basic AM/FM radio. These computers allow drivers to enjoy various forms

of entertainment to make the traveling experience optimal.

In todays thriving and growing world, cars and driving have become almost a necessity.

Automobiles have come a long way from basic designs with no computers and very little safely

features to great works of machinery. There is no doubt that cars have progressed a great deal

and are continuing to become even more deluxe and dependable. Technology never ceases to

advance and technology in the automotive industry continues to grow, giving its users a

marvelous experience in an ostentatious sanctuary. Computer technology addresses modern day

desires of safety and luxury through self-driving, anti-collision systems, advanced interior

technology and is ever providing drivers with advanced means of transportation.

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Works Cited

Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA). "Did You Know?"FARS

Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2017.

Blau, J. Apple and Google Hope to Slide Into the Driver's Seat.Proquest, Arlington Research

Technology Management, July 2015


Bradley, Ryan. "Tesla Autopilot." MIT Technology Review, vol. 119, no. 2, Mar/Apr2016, pp.

62-65. EBSCOhost,


Harding, John. Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications: Readiness of V2V Technology for

Application.The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, National

Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16 Sept. 2014, 10:02,



(Cover Story)."Saturday Evening Post, vol. 283, no. 3, May/Jun2011, pp. 30-35.



LexusDominion. "Lexus Safety System+ Explained." North Park Lexus at Dominion Blog.

North Park Lexus, 05 Dec. 2016. Web. 29 July 2017.

Liljas, Per. "This Is Google's Most Detailed Prototype yet of a Self-Driving Car."Time.Com, 29

May 2014, p. 1. EBSCOhost,